Blackberries are wonderfully juicy fruits considered to be the most widely available, nutrient-rich fruit in the world. This fruit is not actually a true berry; instead, it is an aggregate fruit – composed of several small fruits called drupes, each one containing a stone or pit. It has a variety of names such as brambleberries, dewberries, and lawers, to name a few. Blackberries can easily be bought in markets and grocery stores all over the country as well as around the world (i.e. Europe, Mexico, Asia). Blackberry season is usually from late summer to late autumn though they don’t always bear fruit at the same time. For example, some varieties located in California bear fruit from May to October while others in Oregon and Washington are in season in late July to late August.
Blackberries are extremely popular because of their delicious taste. People enjoy them in various ways. Some eat them fresh while others eat them frozen. Blackberries are used in pies, smoothies, jams, sauces, and jellies. They are also used to add flavor to yogurt, cereal, pancakes, and waffles. The popularity of this fruit is not solely due to its taste. It is also considered quite a healthy treat. According to the USDA, one cup of fresh blackberries contains 62 calories, only 1 gram of fat, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 1 mg of sodium, 2 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fiber. Blackberries are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Tips for Handling Blackberries:
Ripe blackberries should be plump, full, shiny, black, and firm. Avoid getting limp blackberries, unripe, or overripe ones. Unripe ones (colored red or purple), once picked, will no longer ripen.
Fresh blackberries are always best, whether you’re going to eat them or use them.
Blackberries form mold quickly at room temperature and they only last a few days (3-6) stored in the refrigerator. Thus, it is important that you use them quickly.
When storing blackberries, make sure the container and the berries are both dry. The container should be shallow. Also, check to see that none of the blackberries have mold because it develops quickly.
Freezing blackberries extends their shelf life to as long as 10 months. To ensure freshness and longevity, these fruits should be packed in a ziplock bag or something similar to eliminate as much air as possible. Vacuum food sealers can also be used. You can also place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet before placing them in the freezer.
Wash the blackberries completely before using or eating them. However, don’t wash them unless you are prepared to use them or freeze them right away. Blackberries are more prone to spoiling when washed.
To store the fruit’s leaves, use an airtight container and keep it in a cool, dry, dark place.
Individuals who are allergic to aspirin may experience the same reaction when eating blackberries.
Great Antioxidant Effect
As they are from the berries family they contain high levels of antioxidants that fight against free radicals in the body. These free radicals can damage the body severely if one is not very careful. Theya re ranked in the top 10 higehst antioxidant foods according to the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity(ORAC) value.
Anthocyanins from the blackberries are a primary weapon against the development of cancer. According to some studies, the level of oxidative stress that causes the development of cancer cells is blocked by the anthocyanins that the blackberries contain. Eating more antioxidant-rich foods helps with maintaining a healthy body and fighting diseases.
Anthocyanins have a protective effect against heart failure and cardiovascular diseases.
Apart from these antioxidants, they also contain vitamin K, which is also very good at fighting diseases. Blackberries contain over a third of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K.
Maintain a Healthy Brain
Due to the high increase of vitamins and antioxidants they contain, they help with keeping your mental state healthy, including the motor and cognitive skills that tend to slow down with age.
Short-term memory is improved if one has a constant blackberries diet. One of the main important nutrient for the brain that blackberries have is manganese. Not enough manganese in your body may cause brain conditions such like epilepsy.
However, some studies have shown that commercial blackberries have lower effect in comparison to the wild-grown ones.
Regulate Menstrual Health
In women cases, they are very good in struggling with the PMS and relieving the pain. This is especially due to the high presence of vitamin K in the blackberries that helps regulate the hormone function an reduce the cramps.
It also helps with the heavy bleeding and as a menstrual health regulator.
Help Stomach Ulcers
Because of its anti-inflammatory compounds, they work very well in reducing the inflammation of the stomach lining.
For those that do not have the possibility of consuming them fresh, there are supplements containing ellagitannins (the oxidant type blackberries contain) that will help you with your stomach problems.
Moreover, they are high in fiber, which is good for any digestive problem such as bloating or constipation and makes the bowel easier to manage. They have a great impact on the probiotic bacteria in your guts by increasing it, and decreases the pathogenic bacteria. This maintains the small intestine healthy.
Maintain a Healthy Blood Pressure
Their potassium and sodium ratio are proved to fight hypertension. A good potassium intake helps the blood vessels relax and maintain a normal blood pressure.
The berries family are very good in treating hypertension and keeping it under control, of course, with the proper medication. Even so, it is important to have this healthy lifestyle and contribute in the overall improvement of your health with natural products.