In season late spring: Blackberries
Although this summer fruit has ‘berry’ in its name, botanically speaking blackberries aren’t berries. They are what are called aggregate fruits formed from a single flower.
Select blackberries which are plump, firm and have depth of colour. Unripe berries (once picked) do not continue to ripen.
As a delicate fruit, blackberries tend to mould when left at room temperature. When stored in the fridge, the fruit will last only a couple a days. To freeze berries, wash then freeze in a single layer before storing the frozen berries in a bag or container.
Berries are known for their extraordinary antioxidant content, and a 2006 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ranked blackberries ahead of other berries. Not only that, blackberries are an excellent source of vitamin E and half a cup has over 2g fibre.
Only wash berries before using (or freezing) as moisture and excessive handling can spoil the fruit. Add fresh berries to summer fruit salads or for a ‘twist’, stew blackberries with a little sugar and lemon juice to taste then stir syrupy fruit through a fruit salad or add to low-fat ice-cream. Because blackberries are slightly acidic, the fruit complements gamey meat such as venison or wild pork. When frozen berries thaw, they are mushy — ideal for jams, jellies and muffins.
Fun fact: The individual berries that make up the whole of a blackberry are called drupelets.