Blackberries are sweet, juicy, and tender delicacies available in summer in the northern temperate regions. They grow on shrubs called as "brambles." It is a native of sub-arctic Europe and presently produced for commercial purpose in North America, specifically in the USA. Blackberries have numerous physical health benefits.
Characteristics of Blackberries
Botanically its name is Rubus fruticosus. It belongs to the family of Rosaceae, which comes under bush berries.
It is classified into erect, semi-erect and trailing varieties depending upon the growth of the plant.
The pulpe of the Blackberry is very juicy which is seen as small druplets. Each berry is about 3-4 cm long and contains around 80-100 drupelets.
Blackberries and its health benefits
There are numerous health care benefits of blackberries. Few of them are listed below:
Blackberries contain many nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, dietary fibers, and antioxidants that are necessary for optimum health.
They have decidedly fewer calories and are rich in insoluble and soluble fiber. It helps in maintaining blood sugar levels.
Blackberries contain a significant amount of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals and other antioxidant compounds that fight against aging, cancer, neurological diseases, inflammation, and cancer.
They are rich in vitamin-C, a potent natural antioxidant. Thus, it helps in the development of resistance to fight infectious agents and inflammation.
They also contain adequate levels of Vitamin – E, vitamin – K and vitamin – A. They also have oxygen radical absorbance capacity.
Further, blackberries also contain minerals such as manganese, potassium, magnesium, and copper. Copper is essential for the bone metabolism as well as for producing red, and white blood cells.
Blackberries also contain a certain level of vitamin B. It works to help in metabolizing proteins, fats and carbohydrates in your body.
The process of selection and storage
The season of Blackberry is generally from June to September. You can either handpick the fresh ones or harvest them using machines on large farms. The berries are ready for harvesting once they come off the vessel quickly and get the deep color. At this stage, they ripen well and are the sweetest.
You must choose fresh blackberries having shiny, bright, plump in consistency and completely black. Their packaging is done in a box, spread evenly in a single layer.
You should avoid overripe, unripe, damaged, bruised, and soft berries. Blackberries are highly sensitive to handle and perishable. If storing them at home, you must use them at the earliest. They should be kept in a refrigerator, so they remain fresh for 4 to 5 days.
Preparing the fruit and methods to serve
We can consume blackberries directly after picking it from the bush. If you buy them from a store, make sure to consume them without any delay. Never wash the berry unless you are not going to eat it. The dirt on the blackberries are to be removed by rinsing in a vessel full of cold water. Take them out of the water gently and pat dry with the help of a tissue. You can add them to the fruit or vegetable salads. They are good to go with ice creams too. The pureed blackberries can be saved so as to make sorbet, jams, syrup, juice and jelly. They can be added to give a good flavor to breads, crumbles, muffins, puddings, pies and tarts.
Rare instance of allergy through blackberries
Usually, blackberries do not cause any allergies. Although they constitute healthy diet, nutrition, there are a couple of cases reported, among some sensitized people. Studies show that the reaction may be because of the presence of salicylic acid that causes symptoms like redness and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, eczema, skin rash, runny nose, headache, itchy eyes, gastrointestinal disturbances, hyperactivity, and depression. People who are unsure of being allergic to blackberries should avoid them.