Blackberries: Healthy, Delicious, Free.

pic of blackberries

Blackberries are packed full of important nutrients.

Part 1 of five articles to get you started gathering, preserving and using blackberries in low cost family meals.

Why blackberries? Aren’t they like noxious weeds? True, they are invasive and you can find them growing everywhere in temperate climate areas throughout the world. But the common blackberry is packed with important nutrients. They rank at the top as a source of antioxidants needed by the body to protect and repair body cells. By taking precautions, they are easy to harvest and preserve. Stay tuned throughout the week as we share ways to pick, preserve and use them in delicious recipes. Read more…

Blackberry varieties: There are over 300 varieties of blackberries found throughout the world.  Some are naturally trailing, erect, or growing in massive entanglements. But over the years they have crossbred naturally or by man, to produce commercial varieties that have thorn-less vines, huge fruit clusters and longer growing seasons. Regardless of the plant structure, each berry is a cluster of individual fruity seeds; bitter and hard when green but soft and sweet when mature. Himalayan blackberry and evergreen blackberry are the most common vines in the Northwestern US even though  they are both European imports. They are becoming a threat to native Washington plants. More…

Nutrients:  According to research studies listed below, berries are rich in fiber and contain a wide variety of nutrients that:

  • Improve brain function
  • Contribute to higher levels of good cholesterol,
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Offer reduced risk of cancer. Blackberries,
  • Contain the largest concentration of antioxidants when compared with over 3000 kinds of foods. (see chart)

Antioxidant content of common fruit including berries. (adapter from http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/berries/ )

Conclusion: Berries are rich in nutrients. (authors note: berries are certainly beneficial when included in a meal plan that includes a wide variety of natural foods. Most nutritionists recommend   1or 2 fruit servings per day)

Coming

Next:  Part 2: How to pick blackberries  without drawing blood.

*Consult your doctor if making changes in your food choices. Some fruit may interfere with the medications you are taking. Health information for our posts are based on writings from credible sources and intended solely to be discussion starters. In no way, implied or otherwise, is information to be used as medical diagnosis or prescribed medicinal therapy.  See a physician for diagnosis or remedies.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/antioxidants-your-immune-system-super-foods-optimal-health

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/2/323.abstract

Yeager, Selene, and Editors of Prevention Magazine  “ The Doctor’s Book of Food Remedies” New York, NY. Rodale Press 2007