08 July, 2011
Blackberries are a sweet, juicy, low-calorie food that adds a variety of nutrients to your diet. Learning to select, store and use blackberries at their peak increases the enjoyment of this summer fruit. Eating a variety of fruit is important because each fruit has a different nutrition profile. By eating a variety of fruit, you will consume an array of nutrients.
Blackberries come in many varieties, but the nutritional value among the varieties doesn't vary much. What you might notice between varieties is the size of the fruit, when they ripen and if the vines have thorns. The flavor might also be different depending on the variety. Some are sweeter than other types.
Blackberries, like most berries are low in calories and high in nutrients. Per half cup, blackberries have 37 calories, 9g of carbohydrate and 4g of fiber. Other nutrients in blackberries include vitamins A, C, and K, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Vitamin A helps maintain eye health while vitamin C promotes wound healing, keeps gums healthy and helps the body absorb iron. Vitamin K, along with magnesium, are important in promoting bone health. Potassium plays a role in health blood pressure levels. And fiber helps control cholesterol and keeps you regular.
In most areas of the United States, blackberries will be in season during the summer. Berries that are in season will cost less and generally taste better. They are also more likely to be available locally. Look for firm berries that are slightly dull-colored as this indicates the berries are ripe.
Blackberries can be stored up to one week in the refrigerator. Keep them in their original package or place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. If you prefer to freeze your berries, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in freezer until berries are frozen. Then place frozen berries in freezer bags. Use within one year.
Before using your blackberries, rinse them in cool, running water to remove any debris. In addition to enjoying them as a sweet snack, other serving suggestions include adding them to your cereal, yogurt or ice cream. Combine them with other berries and drizzle with balsamic vinegar for dessert.
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