Blackberries Are Here!

Here up north, the Farmer’s Markets are filled with blackberries this week. I sing their praises because, for thousands of years, humans have used blackberries for medicine and food.

Stills: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?
Crosby: Yes, I’ve been eating them for six or seven weeks now, haven’t got sick once.
Stills: Probably keep us both alive.

A Blackberry Tale*

During the Civil War more deaths were caused by disease than by wounds, and of disease deaths, about half were caused by intestinal disorders, mainly diarrhea, dysentery and  typhoid fever. In fact, 995 of 1,000 Union soldiers contracted dysentery. The cure for dysentery was blackberry tea because blackberries are a powerful astringent that limits bodily secretions, and more than one cease fire was called for the purpose of picking blackberries. Confederate and Union soldiers stopped to pick blackberries together, often from the same bush at the same time, only to start fighting again when the dysentery was cured.

Blackberry Nutrition

Of all the berries, blackberries are the most nutritious. They contain the most ellagic acid, a phenolic compound with anti-carcinogen, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. They are loaded with gallic acid, rutin, and anthocyanins (blue pigments) as well, all powerful antioxidants that help to protect human cells against oxidative damage. Besides fighting cancer cells, they control circulatory disorders, enhance night vision, and have too many additional therapeutic roles to mention. Blackberries are loaded with fiber, vitamin C, manganese, copper, and omega-3 fatty acid-like molecules. And all of that for only 60 calories per cup, a true high “nutrient density” food.

Here are some ways to enjoy blackberries:
Blackberry Spinach Salad (All Recipes.)
Blackberry Mint Iced Tea (Driscoll’s)
Old Bachelor’s Jam and  Old Bachelor’s Jam and Blackberry Tart (Martha Stewart)

Your thoughts: Do you have a blackberry recipe to share with my readers? Thanks!

*Flora and Fauna of the Civil War: An Environmental Reference Guide by Kelby Ouchley