Down & Dirty

Blackberries and Sweet and Savory Ways to Use Them

By • August 16, 2014 • 6 Comments

8 Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.

Today: Blackberries and black raspberries are both dark in color, though neither one are true berries. Here's how to keep them straight and put your blackberries to good use.

Blackberries

Blackberries’ native distribution spans almost worldwide -- they’re found on every continent save Antarctica. As Jack Staub elaborates, “Blackberries are so weedily invasive in so many parts of the globe that many intelligent individuals would positively snort at the suggestion that one might choose to plant one.” So even if you don't want a blackberry plant in your own backyard, they should be easy enough to find in your proverbial one.

In the U.S., depending on where you are, blackberries will likely ripen between June and September (note that late-season picking does have a certain allure).

More: We won’t snort at your gardening choices if you promise to share some blackberry-stuffed scones with us.

Blackberries

Blackberries grow on thorny canes, like raspberries do; and, like raspberries, blackberries are aggregate fruits, not true berries. Blackberries are easily distinguished from black raspberries by their core (proper name: torus) -- or lack thereof. Whereas black raspberries are hollow inside, leaving the core behind on the plant, blackberries maintain their core (1) when they’re picked. Blackberries also look similar to mulberries, but mulberries grow on trees and tend to be more elongated in shape than blackberries.

Since blackberries maintain their core, they have a firmer structure than raspberries -- but they are still fragile. If you’re picking your own, collect blackberries in wide containers, and avoid piling them too high, lest you crush them. Blackberries are at their ripest -- and thus, their sweetest -- when they are a dull black color. But if you want to be able to store your berries in the refrigerator, pick blackberries that are shiny black, as they'll keep for longer.

Blackberries

When you're ready to eat your blackberry haul, we've got ideas for using them in both sweet and savory dishes -- and for putting them in drinks to be sipped.

The Sweet

The Savory

The Shaken and Stirred

Tell us: How do you like to use blackberries?

Photos by James Ransom 

Jump to Comments (6)

Tags: down and dirty, diagrams, special diets, blackberries

Comments (6)

Default-small
Default-small
544705_10101995255633530_289933503_n

3 months ago Elizabeth

Blackberries are synonymous with pie in my family, and we never turn down a pie. Which means blackberries usually get the standard sweet treatment... at least until recently when I decided to make a sauce from some leftover blackberries and then poured it over grilled salmon. It was such a surprisingly good pairing that while we will probably still use them in sweets, it makes me at least want to pick up an extra pint or two for something savory.

Screen_shot_2013-06-14_at_3.40.59_pm

3 months ago Hannah Nickerson

Which should I add to the agenda: the lamb or that cobbler. (Both?? BOTH!)

Pict1821

3 months ago Lindsay-Jean Hard

Lindsay-Jean is a Contributing Writer & Editor at Food52.

BOTH is definitely the right answer!

Default-small

3 months ago Petit World Citizen

I love black raspberries! I've recently used them to decorate a Summer Cake and a Rustic Galette: http://petitworldcitizen...

Pict1821

3 months ago Lindsay-Jean Hard

Lindsay-Jean is a Contributing Writer & Editor at Food52.

How lovely!

Default-small

3 months ago Petit World Citizen

Thank you Lindsay! Glad you liked them!