Foundation Diet and Health
The best perspective for your health
The best perspective for your health
The best perspective for your health
The best perspective for your health

Blackberries, fresh (organic?)

Blackberries can be eaten fresh or used to make a wide variety of desserts. Organic?

Fresh blackberries (Rubus sectio Rubus) are a delicious and refreshing ingredient in fruit salads and desserts. The Rubus genus contains a wide variety of species that may be difficult to distinguish.

Culinary uses — blackberries:

Blackberries are juicy and tasty. They can be eaten fresh, added to smoothies, fruit salads, and cakes for decoration. Blackberries are also used to make jam, jelly, chutney, sorbet, juice, syrup, wine, and liqueur. Vinegar may also be flavored with blackberries.

Blackberries can taste very different. They are sweet but often have a slightly sour flavor. Some people say that blackberries taste like grapes, plums, apples, or coconuts. Wild blackberries are somewhat smaller and more flavorsome than cultivated blackberries.

Like raspberries (Rubus idaeus), blackberry leaves taste good and can be used to make tea. In the Northern Hemisphere, blackberry leaves are mainly picked in the first half of May. Fermented blackberry leaves can be used as a substitute for Chinese black tea.1 Blackberry flowers are also suitable for tea, flavoring, or as a dessert decoration. Dried blackberries can also be brewed to make tea.2

Recipe for Blackberry Chutney:

Ingredients: 600 g blackberries, 200 g sugar, 1 teaspoon sea salt, ½ thumb fresh ginger, 1 chili pepper, 1 red onion, 1 cinnamon stick, 5 corns allspice, 150 mL white wine vinegar, black pepper.

Preparation: Wash the blackberries and mix with sugar and salt. Press them slightly and let the berries stand for about 1 hour. In the meantime, peel and finely dice the ginger and onion. Remove the seeds from the chili and finely chop. Grind the allspice corns.

Bring the blackberries to a boil and puree. Push the mixture through a sieve or strainer. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil again. Let the chutney simmer on low heat for about 2 hours. Stir regularly to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat and season with sugar, salt, and black pepper. Pour the chutney into sterilized glasses while still hot and turn the jars upside down for about 5 minutes to seal.

Blackberry Tea:

Tea made from blackberry leaves or a mixture of raspberry and blackberry leaves is very beneficial for your health. To make one cup of tea, you need about 2 teaspoons of dried leaves. Pour boiling water over the leaves and let steep for about 10 minutes. Strain the tea and sweeten to taste.

You can find vegan recipes with blackberries at the bottom of the text or in the sidebar: “Recipes that have the most of this ingredient.”

Purchasing — where to buy blackberries?

You can buy blackberries from all major supermarkets year-round, including Walmart, Whole Foods Markets, Kroger, and Safeway (United States); Extra Foods, Metro, and Freshmart (Canada); Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Aldi, and Lidl (Great Britain); and Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, and Harris Farm (Australia). You can also buy blackberries in organic supermarkets and health food stores. Central Europe and temperate parts of the US are an excellent climate for blackberries. You can buy fresh regional produce from July–October. Nonorganic blackberries often contain traces of pesticides, which is why we recommend buying organic berries.

Finding wild:

Wild blackberries can be found in forests near hedges, on rubble heaps, and in heaths. The species complex Rubus fruticosus contain a variety of subspecies that are difficult to distinguish from one another.3 Wild blackberries have thorny leaves and violet to black colored fruits.4 All blackberry species, whether wild or cultivated, have edible, nontoxic leaves. In the northern hemisphere, blackberry leaves are mainly picked in the first half of May, the berries itself later between July and October (season).

Storing:

Fresh berries should be consumed very quickly. If you want to store blackberries, spread them out on a plate or shallow bowl so that they do not crush each other. They will keep for up for two days when refrigerated. Try to prevent blackberries from bruising, as bruises can encourage mold “growing.” The most ideal way to preserve blackberries is to freeze them. Frozen blackberries are perfect for making jam, ice cream, cakes, and smoothies.

Nutrients — nutritional information — calories in blackberries:

100 g of blackberries contains 43 calories. Blackberries contain very little fat and protein, at 0.5 and 1.4 g respectively. Blackberries contain approximately 9.6 g/100 g carbohydrates and 5.3 g/100 g dietary fiber, with a mixture of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.5

Blackberries contain approximately 0.65 mg manganese/100 g, which is similar to raspberries (0.67 mg/100 g). Manganese is an important trace element for developing healthy cartilage and connective tissue and is particularly abundant in wheat germ and hazelnuts.5

Blackberries contain 21 mg/100 g vitamin C, which is an important antioxidant. Gooseberries and raspberries have slightly more vitamin C, at 27 mg/ 100 g. Red currants have a particularly high content of vitamin C, at 41 mg/100 g. Vegetables should also not be underestimated as a source of vitamin C, for example, yellow bell peppers contain 184 mg/100 g.5

Fresh blackberries contain 20 µg/100 g vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin. This is a similar amount to blueberries. Green vegetables contain particularly high quantities of vitamin K, for example, Swiss chard contains 830 µg/100 g.5

Folate, as the active form of folic acid, is barely found in blackberries, at 25 µg/100 g. Regularly eating blackberries will nonetheless contribute to your folate intake. The recommended daily intake of folate is 300 µg, while pregnant women need about 550 µg.6 Folate is important for cell renewal. Legumes such as lentils and peanuts provide a lot of folate, at 479 µg and 240 µg/100 g respectively.5

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is said to protect against free radicals. Blackberries contain similar amounts of vitamin E as cranberries: 1.2 mg/100 g. Nuts such as almonds (25.6 mg/100 g) and hazelnuts (15 mg/100 g) are also particularly good sources of vitamin E.5

Blackberries contain potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Blackberries contain a comparatively high content of antioxidants for a fruit thanks to the wide variety of polyphenolic nutrients such as ellagic acid, tannins, quercetin (natural dye), gallic acid, cyaniding, and anthocyanins.

Select CLICK FOR under the photo of blackberries to see the nutrient tables. These tables provide complete nutritional information, the percentage of the recommended allowance, and comparison values with other ingredients.

Ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in berries:

Cultivated berries and wild berries usually have a very good ratio of omega-6 (linoleic acid, LA) to omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid, ALA). In general, berries contain very little fat, and accordingly the amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 are also low.

The body absorbs alpha-linolenic acid and uses it to produce eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which have anti-inflammatory effects. On the other hand, the body absorbs linoleic acid to produce arachidonic acid, which promotes inflammation. Raspberries’ healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is another reason why they are considered a healthy food.

Detailed information on the amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in a variety of berries (source: USDA, Önwt, Debinet).

Fresh Berries Omega-6 Fatty Acids (g/100 g) Omega-3 Fatty Acids (g/100 g) Ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fatty Acids (LA:ALA) Total Fat (g/100 g) Source
Sea buckthorn 2.6 1.8 1.5:1 7.1 Önwt
Elderberries 0.6 0.5 1:1 1.7 Önwt
Blackberries 0.19 0.4 0.36 0.09 0.3 0.26 2:1 1.25:1 1.3:1 0.34 1.0 1.0

USDA Önwt Debinet

Wild blackberries 0.4 0.3 1.25:1 1.0 Önwt
Lingonberries 0.2 0.2 1:1 0.5 Önwt
Cranberries 0.3 0.2 1.5:1 0.7 Önwt
Blueberries 0.2 0.22 0.2 0.15 1:1 1.5:1 0.6 0.6

Önwt Debinet

Raspberries 0.25 0.1 0.2 0.15 1:1 1.5:1 0.6 0.6 USDA Önwt
Wild strawberries 0.1 0.1 1:1 0.4 Önwt
Wild raspberries 0.1 0.1 1:1 0.3 Önwt
Boysenberries 0.11 0.08 1.5:1 0.3 Debinet
Black currants 0.11 0.07 1.5:1 0.26 USDA
Strawberries 0.09 0.06 1.5:1 0.21 0.4 USDA Debinet
Gooseberries 0.27 0.05 5:1 0.4 USDA
Currants (red and white) 0.05 0.04 0.04 0.03 1:1 1.25:1 0.13 0.2 USDA Debinet

Health aspects — benefits of blackberries:

What are the health benefits of blackberries? Blackberries are considered a superfruit thanks to their phytonutrients such as anthocyanins and phenols, which have antioxidant effects.7 Blackberry extracts can combat reactive nitrogen and oxygen compounds (free radicals). Free radicals can trigger cardiovascular diseases such as endothelial dysfunction and vascular failure.8

Blackberries can help to prevent conditions associated with aging such as neurodegenerative diseases and bone loss. In addition, experiments have demonstrated that blackberry extracts have antimutagenic effects (both in vitro and in vivo). Further studies are needed to investigate the potential of blackberries to help to prevent diabetes, microbes, and inflammation.7

Studies have shown that regularly consuming blackberries increased the fat that overweight individuals burnt. It also helps diabetics by increasing the sensitivity of the pancreatic hormone.9 The high amount of fiber contained in blackberries can also benefit digestion.

Dangers — intolerances — side effects:

It is important to wash wild berries that you have picked yourself before eating. Fruit that grows close to the ground may contain dirt or parasites. It is rare for blackberries to be infected with tapeworm eggs (Echinococcus multilocularis); however, it is possible and can result in severe liver damage. Foxes are the primary carriers of tapeworm, but dogs and cats can also spread the eggs.10

Blackberries contain little fructose (3.1 g/100 g), which means that they can be eaten in small quantities even if you are fructose intolerant. Every individual has a different tolerance when it comes to digesting berries, so you should determine an amount that is healthy for you to consume.

Use as a medicinal plant:

Because of their tanning agents, blackberries and their leaves are used as astringents against diarrhea and to treat inflammation of the mouth and throat by gargling.2 Blackberries are also applied externally to help with certain chronic skin conditions.

Traditional medicine — naturopathy:

Blackberries and blackberry leaves are said to have a calming effect.2 Blackberry leaves are also an expectorant, helping to loosen mucus when you have a cough. During pregnancy, it is recommended that you consume blackberries in the final four weeks before you give birth as this is said to loosen bodily tissues and facilitate giving birth.

Description — origin:

The healing powers of blackberry bushes have been known since ancient times.1 The Greek physician Hippocrates and the Greek poet Aeschylus described blackberries as medicinal plants.11

The blackberry is a widespread fruit in temperate regions of Europe, North Africa, the Near East, and North America.

Taxonomy:

There are very many different species, varieties, and hybrids of blackberries. Some common varieties of blackberries (Rubus subg. Rubus) are as follows:

  • Trailing blackberry varieties including Obsidian, Silvan, Columbia Star, and Wild Treasure.
  • Erect blackberry varieties including Ouachita, Navaho, and Illini Hardy.
  • Semi-erect blackberry varieties including Loch Ness, Black Satin, Hull Thornless, and “riple Crown.
  • Primocane-fruiting blackberry varieties including Prime Jim, Prime Jan, and Prime-Ark 45

Cultivation in gardens or as potted plants:

Blackberries grow best in full sun or partial shade, which is why they tend to be found in sparse forests or on the edges of denser forests. They prefer soils rich in lime and nitrogen.

Blackberry stems initially grow upwards before bending and growing downwards. They then form stolons and grow more roots into the ground. Blackberries need a trellis system to support their “growing.” You should plant blackberry bushes about 2–3 meters apart.

When should you cut blackberries and how should you go about it? You can regularly thin blackberry bushes and remove epicormic shoots to prevent undergrowth. Cut off worn-out canes at the base when they are 2–3 years old and cut back new shoots to about 2-5 branches.12

In Europe, people often grow Himalayan blackberries (Rubus armeniacus or Armenian blackberry) in the garden. Himalayan blackberries are an invasive introduced species and are found in the wild in many regions of Europe and North America. There are also thornless varieties of Himalayan blackberries and hybrid varieties.

When do blackberries bloom? Blackberries don’t have a uniform flowering period. Their main flowering period is from May to the end of July, but some shrubs bloom until winter. A single blackberry bush may simultaneously contain flowers, unripe berries, and ripe berries.3

Danger of confusion:

Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) can easily be confused with European dewberries (Rubus caesius); however, this does not pose any danger. Rubus caesius is widespread in Europe. Its berries are slightly smaller than blackberries, but they are very plump and juicy. European dewberries are a perennial plant, reaching a height of up to 40 cm with soft and bristly spines.4

The loganberry (Rubus x loganobaccus) is a hybrid blackberry species. It originated in California and is a cross between the California blackberry (Rubus ursinus) and the European raspberry (Rubus idaeus or “Red Antwerp” raspberries).14 Loganberries are long red aggregate fruits with an acidic flavor. They are named after the American judge J.H. Logan, who accidentally bred the berries for the first time.

Boysenberries (Rubus ursinus x idaeus) are a cross between loganberries and a variety of blackberries.15 The berries were first bred in America and taste very similar to blackberries.

Animal protection — species protection — animal welfare:

Wild blackberries are also an ideal source of food for animals. Not only do a variety of bird species enjoy blackberries (e.g., blackbirds, song thrushes, and Eurasian blackcaps), mice such as hazel dormice and edible dormice love to eat them too.

General information about blackberries:

The genus Rubus belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae). The blackberry is a subgenus of Rubus (Rubus sectio Rubus) and is made up of several thousand species. The most well-known blackberry species is the Rubus fruticosus L., a species of blackberry native to Europe.12

Botanically speaking, blackberries are not berries but aggregate fruits made up of a bunch of drupelets.16

Blackberry stains are often very difficult to remove from clothes. It is best to treat the stains with vinegar or lemon juice before washing as the acid will have a natural bleaching effect to combat the stains.

Alternative names for blackberries:

Blackberries are also known as black berries, brambles, and dewberries.

Literature — sources:

17 sources:

  1. Niederegger O, Mayr C. Heilpflanzen der Alpen. Tyrolia: Innsbruck. 2006.
  2. Fleischhauer SG, Guthmann J, Spiegelberger R. Enzyklopädie Essbare Wildpflanzen. AT Verlag: Aarau. 4. Auflage. 2018.
  3. Pahlow M. Das grosse Buch der Heilpflanzen. Gesund durch die Heilkräfte der Natur. Nikol: Hamburg. 2013.
  4. Mabey R. Essbar. Wildpflanzen, Pilze, Muscheln für die Naturküche. Haupt: Bern, Stuttgart, Wien. 2013.
  5. USDA United States Department of Agriculture.
  6. DGE Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung.
  7. Kaume L, Howard LR, Devareddy L. The Blackberry Fruit: A Review on Its Composition and Chemistry, Metabolism and Bioavailability, and Health Benefits. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2011;60(23).
  8. Serraino I, Dugo L, Dugo P et al Protective effects of cyanidin-3-O-glucoside from blackberry extract against peroxynitrite-induced endothelial dysfunction and vascular failure. Life Sci. 2003;73(9).
  9. Solverson PM, Rumpler WV, Leger JL et al. Blackberry Feeding Increases Fat Oxidation and Improves "Hormone-I-Sensitivity" in Overweight and Obese Males. Nutrients. 2018;10(8).
  10. BAG Bundesamt für Gesundheit. Schweizer Eidgenossenschaft. Fuchsbandwurm (Echinokokkose). 2019.
  11. Bown D. Encyclopedia of Herbs & their uses. DK: London. 1996.
  12. BdB Handbuch Teil VI. Obstgehölze. 6. Auflage. Fördergesellschaft "Grün ist Leben" Baumschulen, Pinneberg. 1985.
  13. Weber HE. Gliederung der Sommergrünen Brombeeren in Europa (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus subsectio Rubus). Osnabrücker Naturwissenschaftliche Mitteilung 26. 2000.
  14. Huber H. Rosaceae in Hegi G. Illustrierte Flora von Mitteleuropa. 2. Auflage. 1961;4(2).
  15. Vaughan JG, Geissler C, Nicholson B et al. The new Oxford book of food plants. Oxford University Press. 2009.
  16. Wikipedia Brombeeren.
  17. Heilkraeuter.de Brombeere (Rubus fruticosus).