Seasonal Fruits: Blackberries

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Seasonal Fruits: Blackberries

By Paula Deen Test Kitchen

From rustic desserts like cobblers, crisps, buckles and grunts, to blackberry jam, jellies, and wine, it’s no wonder blackberries made Kentucky proud when they were designated as the official state fruit in 2004.

Nutritional Facts:
Blackberries, also known as brambles, are full of natural goodness and simply one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Plump, earthy, and sweet/tart, blackberries are one of the few fruits containing heart-healthy Vitamin E. Their purplish-black pigment indicates they are rich in protective antioxidants. Not only are the berries themselves full of nutrients, but the stems, leaves, and roots contain tannic acid, which is known to be a natural pain reliever. Their leaves and stems are dried and used to make tea.

Selecting:
Even though they are available year-round, blackberries are most flavorful and affordable in the spring and summer months. Their peak season runs from June through August.

When choosing blackberries look for plump, shiny berries with a deep rich color. Avoid overripe berries, which are often dull and soft, and in stained containers, as this can indicate they are past their prime. Since blackberries are fragile, use them within 2 – 3 days after you bring them home. A good way to capture a bit of summer for the wintry days ahead is by freezing blackberries. Simply wash, cut off the hulls, and place them into a food storage bag, removing as much air as possible. Berries stored in this manner will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Quick Tip:
Since blackberries tend to be a bit more tart than other berries, enhance their flavor by sprinkling them with a little sugar, or soaking them in a little liqueur. Sprinkle them over your morning cereal– or indulge by having them with a dollop of fresh sweetened whipped cream. Smoothies and shakes are a special treat on a hot summer day.

As always, we do have a few of our own berry good recipes for the picking. If cravings come in the way of a good old-fashioned coffeecake, try Paula’s Blackberry Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping. For dessert on the fly, nothing could be finer than the Deen Brothers 4-ingredient
Ten Minute Blackberry Pie. On the savory side, Paula’s five-star Filet Mignon with Blackberries uses blackberry preserves along with butter, shallots, and red wine as a flavorful sauce to go alongside the beef. And for the classic spinach salad with a twist, we go right to the Paula Deen collection with Spinach Salad with a Hot Blackberry Walnut Dressing, using Paula’s bottled blackberry-walnut dressing warmed and drizzled over fresh baby spinach topped with crispy bacon, hard-cooked eggs, toasted walnuts, and fresh berries. Of course, you can easily substitute blackberries in any of Paula’s blueberry recipes too!

So go ahead and get cooking. The options are endless. Who wouldn’t enjoy receiving a jar of homemade blackberry jam? 

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Reader Comments:

I really love blackberries. I have not found any this year. In the past we lived in Indiana and we would find them in the state parks and they were so big, about the size of your thumb. I will try to find some here. I am going on a trip up north later this month, maybe there will be some there.
Love you Paula.

By Kathy on July 03, 2010

I grew up in the beautiful mountains of Kentucky and also remember my Granny sending us out with an old empty lard bucket to pick black berries….with the warning of “watch out for snakes” ringing in my ears! Like most, we ate as many as we put in the can!;-) My gran made wonderful berry dumplings,jam, yellow jam cakes and the best cobbler you ever put in your mouth in her big cast iron skillet. We.poured cream over it while it was still warm before we ate it! She also made wonderful buttermilk biscuts..put on butter & home made jam & jelly… heaven on earth !!I’ve had some of the best desserts from through out Europe and the US in my travels… but, nothing better than those home made goodies made with love in my Grandmother Cora’s Kentucky kitchen !!

By Laquita Thornberry Steggeman on June 24, 2010

I love everything you do and make, but I love your Not your Mamma’s banana pudding.

By Renee Shaw on June 24, 2010

Paula My grandmaw made a cake called a blackberry jam cake and my mom could make blackberry dumplings they were so good.My dad was a Cherokee I ndian he could make jelly out of any fruit juice and you know those wild strawberry’s that grow wild in the grass he made strawberry jam out of those. Nice talking to you oh i come to your resturant in Savannah GA. in September.Melva

By Melva J Shultz on June 23, 2010

Paula
  i dont know if this will interest you.
I make a black berry sauce for my pork dishes
The flavor the blackberries bring out in the pork
are just amazing.
you need 1 pint of blackberries
1/8 cup sugar
and 1/2 cup water
put all in a pan bring to a boil.
mash the berries then simmer for about 5 minutes
place in a serving dish and drizzle over you pork
or scoop( i like to scoop) any type of pork
meat will do .

By zoeann mckee on June 23, 2010

I have “modified” a triffle, using cream cheese in the pudding, and a touch of blackberry brandy with the blackberries.

By Kathy Harris on June 23, 2010

We have up here in the Pacific Northwest, the big Hymalayan Blackberries, the bigger they are the juicier they are.

By Carol Sinclair on June 23, 2010

my mother would make Blackberrie Dumpling do you have a recipe for it

By Benetta Romines on June 23, 2010

I am a Tennessee girl my mother all ways made Blackberrie Dumplings and Blackberrie jam omg it was good

By Benetta Romines on June 23, 2010

We love blackberries. Not long ago my husband went pick some and my sister made us the best blackberry cobbler ever.

By Anne Latiolais on June 23, 2010

I make blackberry jam and cobblers. We used to have blackberries but they were on the property line and the neighbor did not see the beauty or the bounty and removed them. They were wild but had large berries. Too bad right. If you put the blackberries in a food mill while they are hot and remove the seeds the jam is so smooth and tasty without the seeds.

By Debbie Turne on June 23, 2010

Use to send my two boys out to pick blackberrys and they wouldcome back with full tummys and legs full of chigger bites and just enough berries for a pie

By Sherri Hulseu on June 23, 2010

Paula,

We have wild Blackberry growing in our pasture.This year we pick 5 full bags of them and frozed them.YUM YUM

By Beja Williams on June 22, 2010

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