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How To Use, Grow And Store Blackberries + Facts And Recipes!

Blackberries are absolutely delicious!

There are so many things you can do with blackberries. Blackberries contain a lot of nutrients that are good for you.

But there are a few things you need to be aware of when it comes to handling blackberries.

Blackberries are one of the most popular summer fruits and they taste fantastic!

Blackberries can provide you a lot of health benefits

Several recent published studies on the nutrition of blackberries indicate that they have very high levels of antioxidants, such as anthocyanin and vitamin C.

There are many varieties of blackberry. Luckily, the difference in nutritional value between the varieties is small, although the size and flavor can be quite different from one variety to the other.

The Berry Health Benefits Network gave out a fact sheet, where they compared the nutritional content of three of the varieties of blackberries against each other. They state that whichever variety you eat, you're likely to get all the benefits that the regular blackberry has. (source)

You can read more about what blackberries can do for your health in our article named Are Blackberries Good For You And What Do They Look Like?




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What Can I Make With Blackberries?

Blackberry is the perfect fruit. You can do so much with it! Only your imagination sets the limits!

For instance, if you don't want to eat them as they are, there are dozens of other ways of using blackberries.

You can use them in pies and crumbles, in jams and jellies, in muffins and scones, in a cake and to decorate. One favourite is to use them as filling for pancakes with some homemade blackberry fruit syrup.

Blackberries can be eaten raw, dried, frozen or in powder form.

If you freeze the blackberries you prolong their shelf life significantly. The berries you keep in your refrigerator can last a few days, while the ones in your freezer can last up to a year.

This makes it easy to have blackberries all year round, pick as much as needed and then freeze them!

You can read more about ways you can store fresh blackberries further down in this article.

Blackberry powder benefits

Blackberries work well in smoothies!

Blackberry powder is the next step in shelf life after freezing them, the berries have a considerable longer shelf life in powder form. The shelf life is several years.

It is a fine ground powder usually made from organic, freshly harvested, whole blackberries. They are dried at room temperature to preserve heat-sensitive substances.

The dried powder is a concentrate of the actual berry, so remember that the content becomes a nutrient concentrate rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese, omega-3 and antioxidants. So I'd advice you to use it in moderation.

It goes perfectly with smoothies, fruit drinks or on your breakfast yogurt or oatmeal.

Tasty tips on blackberry use

The dark color and their appearance makes blackberries stand out in whatever meal or dish you add them to. Add them to your fruit salad, when making sweet muffins or in a sauce to your favorite meat dish. They give the whole meal an extra colorful and nutritious dimension.

My favourite is eating blackberries with ice cream. I think the berries go especially well with vanilla ice cream! Either you have the fresh nice berries as they are or if you've made jam out of them, you can heat it up just a bit and pour it over the ice cream. It's absolutely amazing!

Blackberries go quite well together with apples. You can use them in either a pie or a crumble. Many seem to think that the combination of blackberries and apples are a perfect fit. It’s almost as these two fruits were meant to be mixed with each other.

When heating berries some nutrients might subside or vanish. So, if you don't want to heat the berries, but still prefer to not eat them as they are, you might fancy making a milkshake or smoothie from the berries. That way you won't destroy any nutrients by heating them.

When it comes to beverages with blackberries I must say that, with its beautiful, dark color and nice sweet taste, blackberry juice makes a delicious and attractive addition to juice blends and smoothies. Blackberry juice has a beautiful purple color and tastes fantastic.

Blackberry tea

Blackberry leaves are used for making blackberry tea and can be used for treating non-specific acute diarrhea, as well as inflammation of the mouth and throat. It is also very tasty. Delicious medicine. That's not something you find everyday.

To prepare blackberry tea

  • 1 tablespoon of dried blackberry tea leaves per cup of boiling water
  • Strain after 10 to 15 minutes.

You should drink this tea several times a day between meals, if you want the best effect for your stomach.

If you don’t have access to blackberry leaves you can of course buy blackberry tea. Here is one alternative that I can wholeheartedly recommend that's available on Amazon.#ad It’s a blend with several blue fruits so it’s full of nutrients, and it tastes delicious. It's a personal favourite of mine.




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Blackberry fruit syrup

A blackberry fruit syrup is easy to make. It’s quite heavy on the sugar for my taste. But if you have a sweet tooth, this is the way to go. Try it over pancakes or keep it in the fridge for those refreshing summer drinks.

My Blackberry Fruit Syrup Recipe

This Blackberry Fruit Syrup is delicious with pancakes!

Category: Preserves
Cuisine: Scandinavian

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • Use same amount of blackberries and sugar
  • 400g blackberries
  • 400g sugar

Instructions

  1. Place the ingredients in a heavy saucepan
  2. Bring it to a boil
  3. Lower heat to a soft simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the blackberries are liquefied and the mixture begins to thicken
  4. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar
  5. Push through a fine strainer into a clean glass jar. To increase the jams shelf life, place the syrup in a sterile jar and process it in a boiling water bath for about five minutes
  6. Cover and refrigerate

You've made your own Blackberry Fruit Syrup! Enjoy!

Blackberry jam

Making jam of blackberries, if you have lots of them, seems like an obvious choice. I prefer jam with less added sugar. If I make jam myself I always use less sugar than it says in the recipe. The berries themselves are sweet enough.

Wild blackberries have more pectin than the sweeter farmed varieties, in general the more sour the fruit the higher the pectin level. So those berries which are too tart to eat as they are, are ideal to make jam from. Here is an easy recipe on how you can make a delicious blackberry jam yourself.

My Blackberry Jam Recipe

This Jam is my favourite of all Blackberry Jams I've tasted!

Category: Preserves
Cuisine: Scandinavian

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 75 minutes

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 450g blackberries
  • 400g sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Wash the blackberries and put them in a saucepan
  2. Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir
  3. Leave for an hour to allow the sugar to draw the juice from the fruit
  4. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar
  5. Once all the sugar is dissolved, quickly bring the temperature up to boiling
  6. When the jam begins to thicken, either strain the jam or let the seeds be, depending on what you like
  7. Spoon into glass jam jars, seal it with a lid. To increase the jams shelf life, place the syrup in a sterile jar and process it in a boiling water bath for about five minutes

Enjoy!

Blackberry jam is also readily available to buy, if you don’t have access to blackberries or can't find the time to make it yourself. I sometimes buy the jam, and can recommend this jam#ad available on Amazon that's made in England.




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Are Blackberries Healthy For You?

Blackberries are among the healthiest berries you can find. They are especially noteworthy for their antioxidant concentration. In fact, they have a high ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) rating.

Blackberries are very rich in fiber and antioxidants. Eating blackberries daily can help keep you healthy by preventing many diseases.

Making blackberries a regular part of your diet will do your body a lot of good. The flavonoids will help your heart stay healthy and in the mean time the fiber content might help keep your waistline in check. You can also reduce the risk of fractures and blood clotting disorders.

Fresh berries are excellent sources of vitamin-C (100 g of berries contain 23 mg or 35% of RDI), which is a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin-C helps develop resistance against infectious agents, counteract inflammation, and neutralize harmful free radicals from your body.

If you want to read more about the health benefits and nutritional content of blackberries I recommend you read the article we written about that topic. “Are blackberries good for you and what do they look like?”.

Advantages Of Blackberry Fruit

One advantage of the blackberry plants that also might be its curse, is that it spreads easily. It’s quite common to find blackberry plants growing in the wild, for instance in the forest.

Blackberries actually spread so easily that in some places the blackberries is considered as weed and are eradicated. This I find troubling, as blackberries are one of the most nutritious berries you can eat. I would like to see that instead of getting rid of the plants, they could try limit them from spreading.

I think that all people should eat more blackberries. They taste amazing, are easy to find, grow or buy and, to top it all of, they are really good for you!

What You Shouldn’t Do With Blackberries

There are a few thing you need to think about when you're about to pick some blackberries and when you finally take them home:

  • Only pick the ripe ones
  • Don't wash them until you are ready to use them!

You should be careful to only pick blackberries that are ripe. Unripe berries will not ripen once picked.

There are berries that can ripen in your kitchen if you pick them too early. But the blackberry doesn't have that ability. It would be a shame if you pick the berries too early and can't eat them because they are to sour. They are not as tasty when they are unripe.

The best berries to pick are those that are plump, firm and fully black berries. The ripe berries will pull free from the plant with only a slight tug.

If you still have managed to get a hold of unripe berries. I recommend you not to throw them away. You can make a nice jam of them! They contain more pectin than the ripe ones and you usually add sugar to a jam, so it won't be sour even if the berries are.




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Wait with rinsing them

Another thing you shouldn’t do with blackberries is to rinse them before you are ready to eat them or make something of them. Washing the berries makes them more prone to spoilage. They start to shrivel up and lose their firmness rather quickly.

A lot of times we want to rinse the berries as soon as we get it home, but you shouldn’t do that. Berries tend to mold very easily, and the best way to avoid this is by keeping them as dry as possible.

Be sure to choose a container that is large enough for the berries when you come home. Put a paper towel in the bottom. This is to absorb any excess moisture. Place the fruit inside, but give the berries some space to breathe. When they’re smashed up against each other, they tend to spoil quickly. Usually they last 4-7 days in the refrigerator but you can, as I mentioned earlier, always freeze them for longer durability.

Different Kinds Of Blackberries

The blackberry family is complex and consists of a large number of species, subspecies and forms, which are among the most difficult in our flora. Cultivated varieties are also often hybrids of different species.

The nutritional value of those varieties is not much different, although the size and flavor can be different from one variety to the other.

The good thing is, you are likely to get all the benefits whichever blackberry variety you eat.

The blackberries are known by a variety of names, which include

An example of a blackberry hybrid: Ollalieberries!

  • Brambleberries
  • Bramble
  • Dewberry
  • Thimbleberry
  • Lawers

Raspberries and dewberries are relatives to blackberries.

Varieties of blackberries include

  • Boysenberries
  • Ollalieberries
  • Loganberries
  • Youngberries
  • Marionberries
  • Evergreen blackberry

Boysenberries are reddish-black and are described as more similar to raspberries.

Ollalieberries are slightly longer and more slender than the boysenberry, and are a cross between black, logan and youngberries.

Thanks to careful crossbreeding, there are thornless varieties available today. They seem to be easier to care for, although the flavor is described as less intense. The thornless varieties are also not suitable for colder climate. They like it warm and need lots of sun.

You Can Easily Grow Blackberries Yourself

Blackberry bushes often grow wild. But they are also suitable to cultivate. It’s fantastic to have your own blackberry bush in your garden. It almost takes care of itself, so it’s very easy to care for.

Before planting, it is good to set up something the bushes can climb on.

If you want more plants, blackberry plants are easy to propagate. You put a stem against the ground and weigh it down with a stone and cover with soil, no more than the tip should be above ground. Then you just wait for it to take root and you got yourself a new plant!

This plant is very easy to grow as long as you provide enough water and light. Blackberries thrive in most soils, providing there’s adequate drainage.

The blackberries do not ripe all at the same. This means that you can find unripe and ripe berries on the same stem. Be careful when you pick them, so you just get the ripe ones. Also be aware of the thorns if you don't have a thornless variety.

Remember that the more ripe they are the less sugar you need to add to balance the sourness when making jam. But then again, the pectin content lowers as the berries ripen. I usually buy the pectin I need so that I can reduce the sugar content of my jam. Here's some pectin available on Amazon#ad that works great.




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How To Store Fresh Picked Blackberries

The best way to store fresh picked berries, whether you put them in your fridge or your freezer, is to give them lots of space. Not jam them together. One more important thing to keep them from spoiling faster is to keep them as dry as possible.

The berries will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but they will taste best if you bring them to room temperature before serving. Remember to have a piece of paper towel in the bottom of the container when you store the berries in the fridge, this is to absorb any excess moisture.

If you want to freeze them, just place the whole berries in a rigid container and put it in the freezer. The berries don’t need sweetening, so I recommend that you don’t put sugar on the berries before you freeze them.

Tips when selecting blackberries

When picking or buying fresh blackberries remember to keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose the ones that are firm, plump, dry and uniformly dark purple in color.
  • The bunch should be fragrant.
  • Avoid berries with odd spots, colors or shades.
  • Watch out for molds. These are common in berries and they spread quickly. A moldy berry should never be placed next to a good one.

Storing blackberries in your refrigerator

Blackberries perish quite fast. They can turn soft, mushy and moldy within a mere 24 hours. You should consume them as soon as possible. But here are some tips on how you can store the berries for longer durability:

  • Handle your blackberries carefully.
  • Never wash your blackberries until you are ready to eat or make something of them.
  • Unwashed berries should be refrigerated immediately.
  • Soft, overripe berries should be removed for immediate consumption.
  • Smashed or moldy berries should be thrown away.
  • You should keep the berries as dry as possible.
  • Put a paper towel in the bottom of your container. Spread out the berries and put on a lid. Preferably one that's airtight.

By following the above steps you'll be able to store fresh blackberries for about 2-4 days.

Freezing blackberries or if you buy pre-frozen

You can buy pre-packaged frozen berries. But remember that these might contain added sweeteners. Look carefully if you're about to buy pre-frozen blackberries so that you get the ones without sugar. If you like sugar on your berries it’s better to sweeten them yourself.

To get the best result you should freeze the berries one by one.

  • Spread the berries in a single layer, slightly apart on a baking sheet.
  • Place the sheet in the freezer until it is solid frozen.
  • Transfer the berries to an airtight container or a heavy plastic bag. Seal tightly, pressing out all the air.
  • Frozen blackberries can be enjoyed all year round.

How to get the best result from your frozen blackberries

  • Take out the frozen blackberries and let them thaw in room temperature for about 1 to 2 hours prior to serving.
  • Blackberries taste their best at room temperature.
  • You can also thaw them quickly in running cold water if you're in a hurry.

We eat berries, fruits and nuts in yogurt, either fresh or from the freezer, everyday. With all the different types of berries and fruits available, we got healthy snacks for every occasion!

Conclusion: Add blackberries to your diet. You deserve it!

I think blackberries are the best. We eat blackberries everyday. They are both tasty and nutritious. That's a perfect combination!

There is much you can do with blackberries. But to get the best nutrients out of them, you should eat them as they are.

One down side to the blackberries are that they spoil quite quickly. But there are some storage tips that you can think of to try to keep them longer: Keep them as dry as possible, don’t wash them until you are ready to eat them or store them one by one and not jammed together.

Blackberries often grow wild in various places. They spread quite easily by themselves. But if you can't find wild grown berries you can buy them or grow them yourself.

Blackberries comes in lots of varieties. You can find subspecies and hybrids. The size and flavor can be different from one variety to the other. But they are all full of nutrients that are good for you.

I recommend you to add blackberries to your diet today. They are just too good for you to not to!




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Frequently asked questions about Blackberries and what you can do with them

What can you do with blackberries?

Blackberries are versatile! First of all, why not eat them fresh as they are? Use them in pies and crumbles, in jams and jellies, in muffins and scones. Their shape and color makes them a prime candidate to be used as decoration on pastries and cakes. You can also have them as filling in pancakes or make a fruit syrup of them. Make a smoothies, a fruit drink or have them on your breakfast yogurt or oatmeal. Or why not add them to your salad or have them in a sauce to your favorite meat dish.

What to do after picking blackberries?

You need to take care of your blackberries directly after picking them. Blackberries perish quite fast. You shouldn't rinse them until right before you're about to use them. Rinsing makes them more prone to spoiling. You store blackberries in your refrigerator for a few days. For longer term storage we recommend you freeze or make jam out of them.

Can you freeze blackberries?

Yes, freezing blackberries is a great alternative for storing. To get the best result, you should freeze the berries one by one by spreading them on a tray and putting the whole tray in your freezer. Leave them overnight and the next day, transfer them into a freezer-proof bag or an air tight container. That way you'll have blackberries to enjoy all year round.

Are blackberries healthy for you?

Yes, blackberries are very healthy for you. They are actually among the healthiest berries you can find. They have a high antioxidant concentration, are an excellent source of vitamin C and are very rich in fiber. Eating blackberries every day can help keep you healthy by preventing certain diseases.

Article written by,

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), University Diploma in Educational Information and Communication Technology, Bachelor of Science in Social Work