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Blackberries

Blackberries have been around for thousands of years. This is a very popular fruit that is used in jams, jellies, wines, and desserts. The flavor of the blackberry leans more on the tart side compared to other berries, which makes it a more popular fruit for canning, cooking, and added to smoothies rather than being eaten directly as a fruit. An interesting fact about the blackberry is that while Mexico leads the world in blackberry production, almost all of their crop goes to the United States.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Rosales
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Genus: Rubus
  • Species: Varies

Blackberry Trivia

  • Blackberries are not technically “berries.”
  • Blackberries are red when unripe; this had led to the saying, “Blackberries are red when green.”
  • The earliest known instance of blackberry comes from the bog body of a Danish woman dating over 2,500 years old.
  • Blackberries have been used by Native Americans to die hair and fabrics.

Blackberry Buying Guide

Only buy blackberries if you plan to eat them right away, this is because they have a very short shelf life. Since blackberries don’t continue to ripen after they are picked, avoid blackberries that don’t have a strong berry scent to them. Blackberries that have little or no scent are still unripe. The color of the blackberries should be uniformly black with no shades of red.

If buying blackberries inside their clamshell packaging, check the bottom of the package for any stains. If there are stains at the bottom, this might mean that there are some crushed or overripe berries hidden inside somewhere. Unlike grapes, if you see stems attached on blackberries, avoid them, as this means that the fruit was picked too early.

If possible, purchase your blackberries from local organic farms. Blackberries are best when picked directly from the plant. Many organic “U-Pick” farms allow you to pick your own blackberries for a minimal fee.

Blackberry Production & Farming in Texas

Blackberries, unlike other fruits in the Rubus genus like raspberries, tolerate the high summer temperatures of Texas very well. On top of that, there are several varieties released by Texas A&M University that are well-adapted to the different areas of Texas. So wherever you are in Texas, there’s a blackberry plant that can easily be grown.

Many small commercial blackberry farms in Texas practice organic farming and have enjoyed success with the “Pick your own fruit” business model.

Pesticides:

While blackberries aren’t on the Dirty Dozen list and is actually listed as a better replacement for strawberries when it comes to avoiding pesticides, it is still a pretty good idea to get them organic. The reason for this is that the blackberry is a very delicate fruit and it has a lot of nooks and crannies. It would be tough to thoroughly wash commercially produced blackberries because of these little nooks and crannies to get all of the pesticide residues off.

Geography:

Blackberries can be grown and can thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 7-9 (which is pretty much the entirety of Texas). Blackberries need regular irrigation for the fruits to reach their full potential. Blackberries thrive in sandy soil with good drainage and have a pH of 4.5-7.5.

Packaging:

Blackberries are very, very, very delicate fruits. They need to be harvested by hand and packed in extra-strong plastic clamshell boxes to prevent bruising and crushing during transport. Commercial blackberries also need extra-strong refrigeration for storage as they only last one day at room temperature. Compare this with organic farms that offer pick-your-own fruit services or farms that sell in local farmers’ markets where the blackberries are stacked in reusable containers. If you go organic, the carbon footprint is much lower, and the fruit is much fresher.

Eating Blackberries

To consume blackberries, simply give them a wash in cool running water and enjoy them as is. No special tools or preparation is required.

Storage:

Never leave blackberries out at room temperature. Refrigerated, blackberries can last up to three or four days if you’re lucky.

To freeze blackberries for longer-term storage, give them a quick rinse in cold water before freezing them in a single layer. Once the blackberries are frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer-safe container for longer-term storage.

Blackberries can also be made into jam or preserves for longer shelf life.

Cooking:

Since blackberries lean towards the tart side, this fruit does well in high-sugar preparations like as a pie filling, turnovers, granitas, or cobblers. Blackberries also do well in smoothies and cocktails.

Nutrition:

  • Carbs
    • The carbohydrates that come from blackberries are a combination of simple sugars and complex carbohydrates, which is good for you. Complex carbs take your body a longer time to metabolize and thus have less impact on your blood sugar levels.
    • The glycemic index of blackberries is at around 25, making it possible for people with diabetes to consume the fruit in moderation.
  • Fiber
    • Blackberries contain a fantastic amount of fiber by providing over 30% of the RDI for fiber with every 100g serving.
      • Fiber aids in digestion and slows the absorption of fat and sugar into the bloodstream.
      • Fiber also helps clean up toxins from your gut by binding with them and flushing them out.
    • Vitamins and minerals:
      • Blackberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C and manganese.
        • Vitamin C and manganese are antioxidants that help rid the body of free radicals and reduce oxidative stress to cells.
          • On top of being an antioxidant, Vitamin C also promotes cell regeneration and wound healing.
        • Blackberries also provide 32% of the RDI for Vitamin K with each serving.
          • The body uses vitamin K for healthier bones and platelet production.

When Are Blackberries in Season in Texas?

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 61.9 3%
  • Carbs: 14.7g 5%
  • Sugar: 7g 0
  • Fiber: 7.6g 31%
  • Protein: 2g 4%
  • Fat: 0.7g 1%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 1.4mg 0%
  • Vitamin C 30.2mg 50%
  • Vitamin A 308IU 6%
  • Calcium 41.8mg 4%
  • Iron 0.9mg 5%
  • Potassium 233mg 7%
  • Vitamin K 28.5mcg 36%
  • Vitamin E 1.7mg 8%
  • Vitamin B6 0mg 2%
  • Folate 36mcg 9%
  • Magnesium 28.8mg 7%
  • Phosphorus 31.7mg 3%
  • Manganese 0.9mg 47%
  • Copper 0.2mg 12%
  • Zinc 0.8mg 5%

Seasonality

When are apples in season in Texas?

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

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