Latin Name: Rubus fruticosus, Rubus ursinus
What is a Blackberry?
Blackberries have been popular in Europe for over 2,000 years, used for eating, medicinal purposes, and as hedges to keep out intruders. A widespread perennial, there are over 375 species of blackberries. Often called “brambles,” blackberries, like raspberries, are not considered true berries due to their aggregate fruit structure, which means they are formed by a compendium of several smaller fruits, which are called drupelets. All of the drupelets are attached to a fibrous central core of the fruit.
What are the health benefits of Blackberries?
The blackberry is an exceptional source of dietary fiber. Additionally, blackberries are notable for their high amounts vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid—a significant B vitamin, and the essential mineral, manganese.
Blackberries rank very high among fruits for antioxidant strength, due in large part to their dense contents of polyphenolic compounds, such as ellagic acid, tannins, ellagitannins, quercetin, gallic acid, anthocyanins, and cyanidins. New research has found that blackberries contain a natural ingredient that seems to destroy leukemia cells.
The astringent blackberry root is sometimes used in herbal medicine, often boiled into tea, as a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery. The berries themselves also have astringent properties, though to a lesser extent. Blackberries have numerous, large seeds, which contain rich amounts of omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) and omega-6 fats (linoleic acid), protein, dietary fiber, carotenoids, ellagitannins, and ellagic acid.
Where can I find Blackberries?
Blackberries can be found in grocery stores and outdoor markets in season; they are at their best from late summer to fall.
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