Summer is spelled as ‘blackberries’ for me. I love blackberries. For starters, it is easy to eat (no peeling!). Plus the sweet and juicy flavour makes for a tasty treat. No wonder it’s a favourite among kids. But along with these immediate benefits, this delicious fruit has a lot more on offer.
Talk of skin, hair or overall health, this yummy fruit extends its benefits to all. Blackberries are available in plenty during mid-autumn. It is an aggregate fruit, composed of several smaller fruits known as drupes. It belongs to the Rosaceaefamily (1). The fruit is deep purple in colour with smooth, fragile skin. Thanks to the fruitfulness of blackberries, they have even found mention in the Bible and British folklore.
Still doubt the calibre of blackberries? Here is a post on blackberries’ benefits for skin, hair and health. But before I start listing out various benefits, here’s a detailed chart elucidating its nutritional value.
Blackberry Nutrition Chart: (USDA)
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.49 g|
|Dietary Fiber||5.3 g|
|Pantothenic acid||0.276 mg|
|Vitamin A||214 IU|
|Vitamin C||21 mg|
|Vitamin E||1.17 mg|
|Vitamin K||19.8 µg|
Benefits of Blackberry Fruit for Skin:
Our skin plays a vital role in our outer appearance. Most of us fail to realise that our skin eventually reflects what we eat. A good daily supply of vital nutrients is required for that glowing and perfect skin. Blackberries are rich in Vitamins A and C. Over and above this, they offer highest levels of some antioxidants – higher than blueberries and strawberries too. The very dark colour of the fruit is the proof of its high antioxidants’ level. As a result it is beneficial for the skin.
1. Fights Free Radicals:
Anthocyanocides and polyphenols are two antioxidants found in abundance in blackberries. These help in fighting free radicals (2). The collagen-forming Vitamin C and Vitamin A make it only more appropriate for skin. These vitamins also act as antioxidants. Regular consumption of blackberries protects skin against the damaging UVA and UVB and aids in skin cell renewal.
2. Hydrates Skin:
Blackberries comprise more than 85% water with an abundant dose of fiber. Both of these are essential for healthy-looking skin. Consumption of blackberries detoxifies the body, maintaining the elasticity of skin (3).
A good way to enjoy the goodness of blackberries for your skin is through a face mask. Here’s how:
- Take a bunch of blackberries
- Crush and mix the juice with a teaspoon of honey.
- Apply this to your face and neck
- Let it dry well before washing it off thoroughly.
This face mask is ideal for hydrating the skin while supplying essential nutrients to it.
3. Rejuvenates the Skin:
Vitamins A, C and K in blackberries are excellent for skin rejuvenation (4). Their Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids-rich seeds are vital for healthy skin.
Here’s an effective face mask recipe for skin rejuvenation.
- Grind a bunch of blackberries.
- Blend these with some fresh yoghurt.
- Add a pinch of nutmeg powder and ¼ lemon juice.
- Apply this mask evenly on your face and neck.
- Wash off after 25 to 30 minutes with lukewarm water.
Regular application of this face mask will help your skin rejuvenate. It will also ensure smooth, moisturized and hydrated skin.
4. Skin Cleanser for Oily Skin:
Blackberries are great for cleansing and detoxification of oily skin too (5).
Prepare a natural skin cleanser for oily skin with this recipe:
- Mix 2 tbsp of fullers’ earth with 1 ½ tbsp of blackberry juice
- Mix well to form a thick paste.
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil (only if you suffer from acne)
- Dampen your face and apply this mixture evenly over your face.
- Wash off after 2 minutes.
This natural skin cleanser will help remove excess oil and shrink the pores – purifying your skin from deep within.
5. Treatment of Wounds:
Blackberry leaves contain tannins with brilliant astringent qualities (6). These prevent the formation of blood clots. Traditionally, the fruit leaves are used to heal wounds, open sores and scratches. Blackberries also assist in soothing skin ailments psoriasis. The antioxidants aid in clearing acne. The brew, made from blackberry leaves, is applied topically to cure Eczema.
Benefits of Blackberry Fruit for Hair:
The high content of antioxidants in blackberries makes it ideal for hair care too.
6. Healthy Hair:
Vitamin C, found in blackberries, is largely responsible for collagen production and contributes to strong hair. The antioxidants help combat the harmful and damaging effects of the environment on hair. Topical application of the fruit extract is known to add instant volume, shine and bounce to hair (7).
Benefits of Blackberry Fruit for Health:
7. Gum Care:
The leaves and bark of the blackberry plant are known for being consumed traditionally. They are used to treat mild gum inflammation and bleeding gums too (8).
8. Menstrual Bleeding:
Consuming blackberry leaves helps get relief from excessive bleeding during menses. The fruit is also used to regulate menses and considered a uterine tonic (9).
Blackberry leaves and fruit can help treat diarrhoea. To use, simply boil the leaves or fruit. Strain and drink the water to get relief (10).
The high potassium content of blackberries helps reduce insulin. Daily consumption of blackberries with one teaspoon of honey helps control diabetes. For good results, it is best advised to have this for at least a week. Not only can the fruit, blackberry leaves also be consumed for its anti-diabetic properties (11).
11. Healthy Bones:
The decent content of calcium, found in blackberries, contribute in strengthening bones (12).
12. Red Blood Cells:
Blackberries contain minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Together, these help a great deal in producing white and red blood cells (13).
The pulp made from blackberry fruits, is widely used to heal haemorrhoids and even conjunctivitis (14).
Blackberries have antioxidants called Ellagic acid. These can help in the prevention of certain cancer cells (15).
How to Select and Store?
Tips for Selection:
When buying blackberries always:
- Choose the ones that are moderately firm, plump, dry and uniformly dark purple in colour.
- The bunch should be fragrant and without the stem caps attached.
- When the hulls are attached, it means that the berries were picked too early before they could mature.
- Avoid berries with odd spots, colours or shades.
- Signs of bruising or staining on the container indicate bruising and injury.
- Try and buy locally grown berries. These are likely to be sweeter and juicier than the ones that are bred for shipment.
- Watch out for molds. These are common in berries and they spread quickly. Hence, a moldy berry should never be placed next to a good one.
Tips for Storage:
Blackberries perish quite fast. They can turn soft, mushy and moldy within mere 24 hours. So here are some storage tips:
- Handle blackberries carefully
- Try and consume them as soon as possible.
- Never wash or hull blackberries until you want to have them.
- Unwashed berries should be refrigerated immediately.
- Soft, overripe berries should be removed for immediate consumption.
- Smashed or moldy berries should be discarded.
- The remaining berries should be blotted dry with a paper towel. They can be placed in a box or spread them on a shallow plastic pan or plate. Cover with a paper towel and wrap with plastic.
- Fresh blackberries generally last for 2 days. But they can be frozen and enjoyed all the year round.
To Freeze Berries:
- You may get pre-packaged frozen berries. But remember, these might contain added sweeteners.
- Spread the berries in a single layer, slightly apart on a baking sheet.
- Now place the sheet in the freezer until it is solid frozen.
- Now transfer it to an airtight container or a heavy plastic bag.Seal tightly, pressing out all the air.
- These will sure last for 6 months.
- Alternately, individual berries can be frozen on a cookie sheet and then packed into zip-lock bags, plastic bags or plastic containers.
- They can also be frozen by mixing with ¾ cup of sugar per quart of berries or packed in sugar syrup for freezing.
To Use Frozen Berries:
- Remove frozen berries from the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours prior to serving.
- Blackberries taste their best at room temperature.
Usage Tips (Cooking/Eating):
Blackberries sure can be enjoyed in its raw and natural form. But there are other delicious ways of relishing this juicy fruit. Here are few cooking and eating tips:
1. Drizzle fresh blackberries with honey or toss them with a little sugar.
2. Combine different berries and relish the goodness of a yummy fruit salad.
3. Mash blackberries and strain them through cheesecloth or a fine sieve to remove the seeds. This juice can be either mixed with water or sweetener. It can also be canned or frozen for future use.
4. Add the above prepared juice to smoothies, mocktails and cocktails.
5. Use whole blackberries and sugar to prepare lip smacking jams, jellies and conserves.
6. Blackberry syrup can make for a tempting topping for ice creams and pancakes. When serving as a dessert topping, sprinkle some toasted almonds and hazelnuts. It can also be used as fruit syrup to add more flavour to drinks.
To Make Blackberry Syrup:
- Boil equal amounts of blackberry juice and sugar for 2 minutes.
- Your blackberry syrup is ready!
- This syrup can be refrigerated.
- To increase its shelf life, place the syrup in a sterile jar and process it in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
7. A handful of blackberries can be added to an apple crumble to prepare a delicious autumnal pudding. It can also be mixed with apples in blackberry pies, muffins and cakes.
8. Use it as a condiment with meat and sea-food.
9. Blackberry liquor is also loved by many. To make this, berries and sugar are macerated with 80 or 100 proof vodka for two weeks. The mixture is then strained and more vodka is added to it.
10. Mix blackberries with apples, kiwi and strawberries to make a delicious fruit salsa. Enjoy it with chips.
11. Blackberry leaves are used for a refreshing cup of tea or enhanced as a therapeutic drink. It has a bitter taste so add honey or other sweeteners to enjoy it better.
Are you a blackberries’ lover too? Tell us how you include blackberries in your diet. Also share the benefits that blackberries have had on you by leaving your comments below.
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