Seasonal Spotlight: Blackberries

In our kitchen, we treat blackberries like precious gems. We dream of living near wild bramble bushes, from which we might gather bucketsful of blackberries to make copious amounts of jam and pies. Until that day, we treasure the little, and unfortunately rather expensive, cartons of blackberries we find at the farmers' market from mid-summer to early fall. They are an indulgence, and we savor each berry as we eat them individually or add them as accents to crumbles and cobblers, shortcakes, and beverages.

There are hundreds of species of wild blackberries, many of which grow along the Pacific coast of North America. Blackberries have also been cultivated and hybridized, producing varieties such as loganberries, youngberries, marionberries, olallieberries, and chehalem blackberries.

Raw blackberries tend to be sour, but when cooked, they turn sweet and jammy. They are particularly delicious in combination with peaches, apples, and other berries. Cream, honey, or lemon also complement blackberries well.

The soft, dark berries are quite fragile, so when shopping look for fruits that are whole and plump. Avoid shriveled berries and look carefully for mold. Store berries in the refrigerator and eat them within a day or two.

How do you like to eat blackberries?

Recipes from The Kitchn:
Apple-Blackberry Pie with Ginger
Blackberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
Blackberry Elderflower Spritzer with Mint
Long Island Margarita
Phyllo Napoleons with Blackberry Sauce and Vanilla Cream
Recipe Roundup: Summertime Semifreddi

And a few more from around the Web:
Blackberry-Bay Leaf Jam from Martha Stewart
Blackberry Cornmeal Cake from Everyday Food
Blackberry Limeade from 101 Cookbooks
Plums & Blackberries in Rosemary Syrup from Good Food

Related: Seasonal Spotlight: Mulberries

(Image: Flickr member threelayercake licensed under Creative Commons)

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Emily Ho is a Los Angeles-based writer, recipe developer, and educator on topics such as food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. She is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and Food Swap Network. Learn more at Roots & Marvel

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