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Everything You Need To Know About Blackberries

Everything You Need To Know About Blackberries
Reading Time: 5 minutesBlackberries are an ever delicious, sometimes sweet, yet tart fruit that can be morphed into a variety of dishes. Whether it is blackberry pie, blackberry cobbler, or just blackberry fruit all by itself, you are in for a tasty treat. This fruit is not only nicely flavored, but it is very healthy for you as well. Blackberries are loaded with healthy antioxidants due to their dark blue/black color, and are low in calories too! I will explore many of the nutritional and health benefits of consuming blackberries below. Not only can blackberries be consumed for good health, but they also can be used in the wilderness as a great survival aid! There is not much these small berries can’t accomplish, and there is so much to learn about them.

Blackberry Fun Facts

  • “Traditionally, the leaves and barks of the plant have also been consumed. The leaves of blackberries have been used to treat mild inflammation of the gums and sometimes even sore throats.
  • The healthy dose of vitamin K aids in muscle relaxing, so some women use the berries to alleviate labor pains. As part of a regular diet, the juice can also be used to regulate menstruation.”
  • “During the Civil War, blackberry tea was said to be the best cure for dysentery. Temporary truces were declared throughout the conflict to allow both Union and Confederate soldiers to forage for blackberries.
  • Blackberries are rich in antioxidants that promote the healthy tightening of tissue, making your skin less likely to sag or wrinkle!
  • Nicholas Culpeper, an English herbalist from the 1600s, recommended the blackberry leaf to be used as hair dye.”
  • “Harvest time typically runs June-August, but new varieties of fall-bearing blackberries allow harvests to continue through September – potentially boosting consumption and demand.
  • The ideal temperature for blackberry production is between 80 and 85 degrees.
  • The blackberry plant is called a “cane.” 
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Blackberry History/Mythology

The delicious blackberry dates back to the 10th century, and is native to Asia, North America, Europe, Australia, Africa, and South America. As you can see it is a pretty popular fruit all around the world. In the 18th century, the Greeks would use blackberries to help cure gout, and it became extremely important throughout Europe for this purpose.

According to Food History,

“Blackberries have been used in Europe for over 2000 years; they are consumed as food, employed for medicinal purposes, and planted in hedgerows to keep out intruders.”

“The early settlers of Europe and North America found wild blackberries growing in abundance. Although some were harvested for food, the majority, because of their thorniness and vigorous growth, were looked upon as a nuisance that interfered with land clearing and cultivation.” Their original name was “bramble” or “brummel” and their direct origin is unclear. According to Garden Guides, “The formal name of the blackberry is Rubus fructicosus, and there are more than 40 species.”

Aside from the berries themselves, the Native Americans used to use the blackberry vine to create twine, and Europeans used the thorny bushes as a barricade for intruders. The thick blackberry bushes would also help keep dangerous animals out, and the berry juice itself would create natural dyes for clothing. There were many uses aside from just consumption that people took advantage of regarding the blackberry bush and fruit.

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Blackberry Nutritional Benefits

There is a long list of nutritional benefits that come from this simple berry that is dark in color and large in flavor. According to Dr. Axe, “One of the most widely researched health benefits of blackberries is their ability to work as a cancer-fighting food. The reason for this is most likely due to the rich antioxidants found in the blackberry. Blackberries contain polyphenols, a class of antioxidants known for their cancer-fighting abilities. Specifically, anthocyanin (a particular polyphenol) is found in high concentrations in this fruit.”

Blackberries also have a positive impact on how efficiently your brain functions due to its high level of manganese. Manganese keeps your brain synapses firing on time and without lag, which helps your memory and decision making. Blackberries also reduce the amount of inflammation in the body which in turn will boost your overall immunity.

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Blackberry Health Benefits

There are a variety of health benefits associated with consuming blackberries, as they are filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in their natural state. With its high antioxidant content, there is no doubt that the blackberry is one of the healthiest fruits you can eat daily. Some of the known health benefits tied to eating blackberries is better digestive health, strengthened immune system, enhanced memory, and improved skin.

It has also been said, “Blackberries have been used to treat bowel problems and fever for more than 2,000 years. The berry was not often used in medicinal applications but the root, bark, and leaf was. They were boiled in water and given as medicine for whooping cough. Other illnesses thought to be cured by blackberry were bites from venomous creatures, boils, and sore throats. In 1771, it was documented that blackberry decoctions would cure ulcers.”

According to Organic Facts,

“Vitamins provided by blackberries include vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), and vitamin K (phylloquinone). The mineral wealth of blackberries include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc.”

Finally, some of the last but not least important health benefits that blackberries offer to those who consume them are heart health and weight management. Talk about a great snack if you are looking to watch your weight. You get a sweet treat, all the while you are not eating too many processed calories. The magnesium and fiber content in the fruit are heart healthy and will result in a clean ticker overtime!

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Blackberry Varieties

There are a variety of blackberries out there today that many people are already familiar with. The regular blackberry itself is a dark black color at its ripest and is rather tart in flavor. Other varieties cultivated from the blackberry are boysenberries, loganberries, marion berries, and young berries. Boysenberries are a dark purple black color and loganberries are dark red in color and they are a cross between a raspberry and blackberry.

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Blackberry Uses

The uses for this power berry are endless, as you can create jams, custards, cobblers, pies, cookies, cakes, and so much more. Not only can you use them to create satisfying treats, but you can also use them as an aid in the wilderness. Blackberry leaves can be used to enhance water if you are out camping, and they can also be used as a natural diarrhea remedy. For every cup of hot water, you can put in 2 leaves for optimal relief.  If you are lost with no food, finding a blackberry bush can be like striking gold, as the berries are full of vitamins and minerals that help with dehydration and the leaves ease diarrhea. Just make sure the plants you are coming across are indeed blackberry bushes! [

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Berry Cobbler Recipe

Food Network: Ree Drummond

Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen) blackberries
  • Whipped cream and/or ice cream, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup sugar with the flour and milk. Whisk in the melted butter.
  3. Rinse the blackberries and pat them dry.
  4. Pour the batter into the baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle the blackberries evenly over the top of the batter.
  6. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the blackberries.
  7. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 1 hour.
  8. When 10 minutes of the cooking time remains, sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the top.
  9. Top with whipped cream or ice cream or both.

ENJOY!

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