Not only do my children love berries, they are practically little ogres for them.
The other day I placed a bowl of fresh blackberries on the table. My four-year-old son looked at me and in a very serious voice said, “Thank you. But there’s a problem. I’m going to eat them all.” And then he did just that.
Like my berry-ravenous son, I’m always delighted to see blackberries make their comeback in the berry set as the weather warms. Of all the succulent berry gems, I find blackberries to be the most richly flavored and complex. Their taste can be comparable to a wine, with an initial tartness, followed by a full bodied burst of sweetness, and finished with lingering layers of flavors.
For the best flavor choose deep dark colored berries with fat drupelets (the juicy bits that hold the seeds) that are just a little soft. Fully colored berries with no red cast are preferable, but don’t worry about an occasional isolated red spot.
I think they’re best eaten at room temperature and enjoyed right out of hand, but I do store them in the fridge until my little ogres are hungry. If you’re lucky enough to have a blackberry bounty on hand, here are some of my favorite ways to celebrate this worthy berry.
Get creative! There are all kinds of ways to incorporate berries into some of your favorite kitchen standbys.
Try making Blackberry Salsa using our Learn to Cook: Fresh Salsa recipe as a guide, and swapping two cups of roughly chopped blackberries in place of the tomatoes and other fruit. Add blackberries to your salad to make it extra nutrient-packed. They are great in the Spring Salad, either with or in place of the strawberries. Or make Blackberry Dressing, using our Learn to Cook: Healthy Salad Dressing as a base recipe.
Serve the dressing over mixed spring greens gently tossed with blackberries for the ultimate berry fix.
Blackberries are easy to integrate into your breakfast routine.
Whatever smoothie you make, just be sure to give it a little extra time and liquid, if needed, to purée all those little blackberry seeds.
Go for a double berry fix with Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes topped with Blackberry Sauce.
I make my sauce in a method similar to these Quick Berry Preserves, but use maple syrup instead of sugar. My family particularly adores the sauce on pancakes or drizzled on oatmeal.
Blackberries look beautiful and taste fabulous atop a warm bowl of Millet Breakfast Cereal.
You get that same gorgeous contrast of deep purple and a golden hue when you add blackberries to Whole Wheat Cornbread Muffins; not to mention the scrumptious taste!
Blackberries are a welcome sweet finish after a meal. Raw Berry Crisp is a sure-fire hit, and is an easy and quick way to make your blackberries shine. Or use our Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad to inspire your own version of Blackberries and “Cream.” You may find you have a new warm-weather classic.
How do you enjoy your blackberries?