Berry season is arriving quickly, and it’s what gets me the most excited for those first few farmers markets near the end of May and early June where berries are likely available. When perfectly ripe, blackberries are one of my favorites.
Blackberries, which can range in color from white to red to a very dark purple, look similar to a black raspberry, but they are a bit larger, have a core rather than a hollow center, and are without the teeny “hairs” on the outside. Blackberries are juicy with a sweet, but sometimes tart taste. Buying berries local is worth every dollar; they can be picked closer to being fully ripe since the delicate berry doesn’t have to withstand as much travel and storage time. A ripe blackberry will be softer and duller in color, and it shouldn’t be bitter tasting. Avoid moldy, crushed or bruised blackberries.
Blackberries won’t keep long; no more than two days when fully ripe. Freeze them if you need more time to figure out what to do with them. To freeze, place rinsed berries on a tray, place in freezer until frozen, then pack into containers leaving ½-inch space and freeze. Gently rinse berries with water just before using to help them last longer. Like any berry, there are numerous uses for this juicy fruit. Top your yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes or salads with blackberries. Use them to make smoothies or popsicles, bake a cobbler, or turn them into a sauce or jam. Blackberries are extremely high in disease-fighting antioxidants and yet, according to the USDA, one cup has just 65 calories and a whopping 8 grams dietary fiber. They’re also a good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium. Don’t let the berry season pass you by, make plans to get your hands on some fresh blackberries!
Out of this Whirled Shake (Printable PDF)
½ medium banana, peeled and sliced
1 cup unsweetened frozen blackberries (and/or strawberries, blueberries)
½ cup low fat (1%) milk or soft tofu
½ cup 100% orange juice
Place all ingredients in a blender container. Cover tightly. Blend until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add ½ cup cold water and blend again. Pour into 2 glasses and serve.
Yield: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving):106 calories, 1 gram fat, 30 milligrams sodium, 23 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein
Recipe Credit: Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH).
This blog post first appeared in the Pantagraph on May 12, 2021.