What are blackberries?
Blackberries are an edible fruit that comes from the Rosaceae family of plants. It’s an extremely popular fruit, grown in parts of America (although some species are considered an invasive species or noxious weed in parts of the Pacific North West) as well as across Central America, Europe, South America, and Australasia. Mexico is the largest producer of blackberries in the world.
Blackberries are tasty and packed with health benefits, making them a great fruit to add to your diet either as a raw snack or as part of a recipe. They look a little like a black raspberry but the difference is that, when harvested, the stalk comes with the fruit. Raspberries leave the stalk and are hollow.
Top 7 Healthy Benefits
Here are seven great health benefits of blackberries – each one a compelling reason to introduce them into the meals and snacks you’re planning for your week.
The blackberry is simply one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. They are full of natural goodness and have lots of essential nutrients and vitamins which are very good for your health. So, if you are someone that enjoys eating delicious blackberry Jam or pie, pat yourself on the back, as you’ve chosen a great antioxidant in fruit.
The berries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants you can find. They have a very high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value and can supply your body with a whopping 2036 units of antioxidants per 100 grams.
Ripe berries are packed with powerful antioxidants like polyphenols and anthocyanins. Antioxidants, as you know, are very essential for your body. They fight and neutralize free radicals which can cause serious damage to your health. According to research institutes, regular intake of antioxidants can reduce the risk of several diseases including cancer.
Blackberries are rich in salicylate, which is a natural analgesic (pain reliever). It can help reduce the risk of heart diseases significantly. They are also rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E is yet another powerful antioxidant that can fight the free radicals in the body.
More importantly, vitamin E can prevent all types of skin-related problems caused by free radicals. Wrinkles, dark spots, and other such skin problems are usually caused by the action of free radicals on the skin. By eating blackberries regularly, you can stay away from these problems. As well, blackberries contain lots of vitamin C and can help boost your immune system.
One cup of blackberries contains around 28.5 micrograms of vitamin K, which is 32% of a woman’s recommended daily intake of the vitamin. Vitamin K is really important for maintaining your blood health. It’s a vital component of clotting, helping to make sure you don’t bleed excessively from smaller injuries and improving your healing time. Studies have also shown that it can benefit your bone strength too.
Have Anti-Cancer Properties
While no foods can prevent cancer, there are some that can help to minimize the risk and prevent cancer cells from growing as quickly once they exist. The antioxidants in blackberries – specifically, the anthocyanins, have been shown to have properties that can help to stop cancer cells from being able to grow and reproduce as fast.
Blackberries are a rich source of vitamin A, which is one of the key vitamins in supporting your immune system. The berry can help you to fight off infections and illnesses, keeping you healthier and happier. Vitamin A has other benefits too – it can improve your sight, and it maintains the healthy growth of your teeth, bones, and skin cells.
A lot of people assume that “fiber” is always good for your digestive system, but that’s not true. There are two types – soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber helps support healthy digestion, while soluble fiber is more helpful with lowering blood sugar levels.
Blackberries are rich in both – and so they’re great for anyone diabetic and for keeping your digestive system working as it should.
Aid in Weight Management
Eating blackberries as a snack is a great way to still get that sugary kick your sweet tooth wants, without all the calories, making them a great choice for helping with weight loss. One cup of raw blackberries contains just 75 calories and less than 1 gram of fat.
Also, that soluble fiber isn’t just good for lowering blood sugar but also cholesterol, so if you’ve struggled with your diet in the past and you’re concerned about the impact of fatty foods on your body, blackberries can help undo some of that damage.
Some studies have shown that eating blackberries can boost the health of your brain. The antioxidants in blackberries can alter how the neurons in your brain communicate and reduce inflammation. This helps to prevent any issues that can come with aging, including loss of cognitive or motor functions.
Blackberry Nutrition & Health Information
Blackberries are exceptionally nutritious.
One cup of blackberries, which is around 150g, contains 75 calories, one gram of protein, half a gram of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrates, around 8 grams of fiber, and needless to say, plenty of antioxidants. In short – it is one of the healthiest
foods you can eat.
Amazingly, the entire plant of blackberry is full of valuable nutrients. Its stem, its leaves, and roots are full of tanc acid, which is also a natural analgesic. The leaves, roots, and the outer parts of the stem are usually dried and used to make tea which has a lot of medicinal values. Animals love to eat the whole plant too.
Blackberries should be stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat them. If your fridge has a low-humidity crisper drawer, make sure to put the blackberries here – you want as little moisture as possible to reach the fruit, as that will cause mold to grow.
For that reason, you shouldn’t wash them until you want to eat them either. Even if you meticulously pat them dry once you’re done, they’ll still retain some of that extra moisture on the surface.
Make sure you store blackberries in a vented container too. They produce ethylene, a hormone that will over-ripen the fruit if it doesn’t have anywhere to escape to.
How to Grow Blackberries
Blackberry canes – the long branches of the plant – deliver fruit after two years. If you’re growing from a transplant, wait until late fall or early spring in the first year of the cane, when it is dormant. Check the rooms for damage and trim those before transplanting, and then prune the canes until they are around 4 inches tall.
Tip rooting is when a cane grows in an arch and plants itself into the soil, setting new roots. You can manipulate this to make it happen and develop your blackberry bush. Select a cane with the season’s growth on it, and then dig a hole around 2 feet from the plant crown. Trim the new canes of foliage then arch it down into the hole, securing it with pins if needed. In six to eight weeks you should see new growth.
Growing blackberries from cuttings is easy. Simply trim around 4-6 inches of a firm and succulent cane stem, and place it in a moist soil mix. Keep it misted and shaded, and within four weeks new roots should develop.
If you’re growing from bare root (or stools) then make sure to soak it before planting. Bury the root up to the old soil line and make sure it’s firm, then water it well again. You should leave around 5 feet between each planted root.
Blackberry Plant Care
Blackberry fruit will grow on two-year-old canes or second-year canes, so make sure to keep older and newer canes separate. That helps to prevent fungus from transferring from older to newer ones. In the first spring after planting, cut any old canes back to soil level, and once a cane has been harvested that can be cut back to the soil too. Every few years in winter, add some well-rotted compost or manure to the root area.
Ways to Enjoy Blackberries
- Blackberry Smoothies
A great way to enjoy this fresh fruit is to add them to a smoothie. Fresh blackberries mixed with other berries can create a nutritious and delicious drink – just make sure to add some yogurt to help take the edge off the acidity of the berries.
- Blackberries Fresh
It is suggested that you eat blackberries raw, as cooking can break down some valuable nutrients present in them. Since they
are full of natural fructose sugars, the ripe berries are delicious to eat. So, add blackberries to your everyday meal and
enjoy their natural goodness.
- Blackberries Pies
A blackberry pie is a classic dessert, and while it’s not the healthiest option it is beautiful to look at, even better to taste, and a true crowd-pleaser at dinner. All you need is your favorite sweet pastry recipe, some fresh or frozen blackberries (so you can enjoy this all year round), sugar, and flour. Adding cinnamon or lemon juice is also recommended in some recipes.
Are blackberries safe for everyone?
Blackberries are safe for most people, although some can be allergic to them. It’s much rarer than with some other fruits though, especially when you consider how similar blackberries and strawberries are.
If you are allergic to blackberries you’ll probably notice an itchy mouth and a scratchy throat, potentially with some swelling. As rare as it is to be allergic to blackberries, it’s even more rare for it to be serious, though if you’re concerned you should check with your doctor.
What do blackberries do for your body?
Blackberries can help improve many of the functions of your body and prevent illnesses and diseases. There’s rich in antioxidants, which fight the free radicals in your body, as well as being a great source of some key vitamins.
Eating blackberries can help improve your digestive system, your immune system, keep your brain healthy, help you to manage your weight, and more.
What happens if you eat too many blackberries?
Blackberries do contain sugar, so eating too many is likely to be bad for your dental health. Some other potential side effects of eating too many blackberries are heartburn and acid reflux, and diarrhea. You may also feel nauseous from eating too much of a sweet food.
It’s recommended to stick to one cup per day to maintain a healthy balance.
Are blackberries a Superfood?
Berries in general are considered a superfood, so yes blackberries fall into that category. Superfoods are any foods that offer the maximum nutritional benefit for the minimum calories – so any foods packed with good nutrients and antioxidants that won’t cause you to pile on weight.
Blackberries are an excellent superfood, as they are low in calories but have a wide range of health benefits.
How many blackberries should you eat a day?
It’s recommended to eat around 3oz (approximately 80g) of blackberries per day – this counts as one portion and will give you the right amount of nutrients to help improve your health, as long as you keep them as a regular part of your diet.
If you are partial to the taste of blackberries then you should absolutely make sure you add them to your diet. They’re one of the healthiest foods you can eat, packed with amazing benefits and low in any bad stuff. Plus, they’re tasty too, no matter how you prepare them – what’s not to love?