Blackberries are native to both North America and Europe, but cultivation of this fruit is largely limited to North America. In the early days of the United States, when land was cleared for pasture, blackberry bushes began to multiply. There are many hybrids of blackberries, and both man and nature have had a hand in this process. By 1850, cultivated blackberries had become very popular. Blackberries are now cultivated in almost every part of the United States. Texas and Oregon probably have the largest numbers of acres planted with blackberries. Cultivation of this berry has been slow, because wild berries grow in abundance all over the country. The summer months are the peak season for blackberries.
A quality berry is solid and plump, appears bright and fresh, and is a full black or blue color. Do not choose berries that are partly green or off-color, because the flavor will not be good.
Blackberries are high in iron, but can cause constipation. They have been used for years to control diarrhea. If blackberry juice is mixed with cherry or prune juice, the constipating effect will be taken away. If one can take blackberry juice without constipating results, it is one of the finest builders of the blood.
Much like spinach, raisins, apples, plums and grapes, blackberries are rich in bioflavonoids and Vitamin C, but other nutritional benefits include a very low sodium count and having only 62 calories to a cup. The dark blue colour ensures blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits. Antioxidants, well-known for lowering the risk of a number of cancers, are a huge bonus, but be aware the berries are best consumed in their natural state to get the full benefits.
The berries are known by a variety of names, which include brambleberries, bramble, dewberry, thimbleberry and lawers. Consumption of blackberries can help to promote the healthy tightening of tissue, which is a great non-surgical procedure to make skin look younger. Prolonged consumption also helps keeps your brain alert, thereby maintaining clarity of thought and good memory. The high tannin content of blackberries provides a number of benefits to reduce intestinal inflammation, alleviate hemorrhoids and soothe the effects of diarrhea.
Traditionally, the leaves and barks of the plant have also been consumed. The leaves of blackberries have been used to treat mild inflammation of the gums and sometimes even sore throats. The astringent tannins are effective in oral hygiene when used as a gargle or mouthwash. The leaves can also be used in a refreshing cup of tea or enhanced as a therapeutic drink. Not everyone will like the flavor, so to mask the bitter taste, honey or another form of sweetener may be added. The healthy dose of Vitamin K aids in muscle relaxing, so some women use the berries to alleviate labor pains. As part of a regular diet, the juice can also be used to regulate menstruation as it is very effective in helping blood to clot.
NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND
Protein: 5.4 g
Fat: 3.6 g
Carbohydrates: 59.9 g
Calcium: 163 mg
Phosphorus: 154 mg
Iron: 4.1 mg
Vitamin A: 1,460 I.U.
Thiamine: 0.12 mg
Riboflavin: 0.03 mg
Niacin: 1.3 mg
Ascorbic acid: 106 mg