B is for Blackberry

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My friend’s gorgeous blackberries are perfect this time of year.

Blackberries, of all the berries, are the most adapted to California primarily because they have a high heat tolerance. Ironically, I have had the least amount of luck growing them. This could be, in part, because they are my least favorite of the berry family. I stuck my thornless blackberry in a shady part of my yard that has no direct irrigation to it. I was torn between devoting a good amount of space and energy into growing great black berries, or focusing my resources on my better-liked strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Blackberries like alluvial soil (stream deposited), and grow wild near stream banks where they have access to plenty of water. They don’t mind the cool, coast temperatures either.

Blackberries’ flavor is less-sweet and more earthy than other berries, but the hardiness of the berry makes it a perfect culinary partner. I don’t even try to tend to the few vines I have anymore. My friend grows the most insane blackberries I’ve ever seen or eaten, and her yields are so great she shares.

Most of what she gives me gets eaten immediately. I don’t have leftovers to create with. She, on the other hand, has made a blackberry habanero jelly that pairs well with pork tenderloin. I’m hoping she comments here with the recipe…

Blackberries are a fruit higher in fiber than almost any other. Blackberries became even more popular when ORAC values began being measured, a rating of antioxidants in foods.

“The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) unit, ORAC value, or “ORAC score” is a method of measuring the antioxidant capacity of different foods and supplements. It was developed by scientists at the National Institutes of Health. While the exact relationship between the ORAC value of a food and its health benefit has not been established, it is believed that foods higher on the ORAC scale will more effectively neutralize free radicals. According to the free-radical theory of aging, this will slow the oxidative processes and free radical damage that can contribute to age-related degeneration and disease.” (http://oracvalues.com/)

Our family has a game we occasionally play at dinnertime. (Those who know us, and know how much time we actually spend at the dinner table, will believe this.) We try to make rainbows on our plate. Our goal is to eat as many different colors of food each day as we can. Little can compare to blackberries in the color game. We know that super-good things must be in them as black food is tricky to find.

About master kindergardener

Santa Clara County Master Gardener since 2007, Mom since 2009, Gardener since birth.
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