Let's Go Wild For Blackberries

It's blackberry season and I spent an afternoon foraging in the nearby woods for the luscious ripe berries. My arms are loaded with track marks from the vicious thorns that guard the precious fruit, but I managed to collect a large bucket full.

Chances are, wherever you live, there are wild blackberries growing nearby. As they ripen, the berries will grow in size and change color from green to pink to purple to shiny black when ripe.

It took every bit of restraint I could muster to not pop them directly into my mouth as I was picking. Once you get them home, cover the berries with cold water, add a teaspoon of salt (to kill any bugs), and let them stand for an hour or so. Then transfer them to a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.

Blackberries are one of the healthiest fruits you'll find. These powerful antioxidents are also a delicious source of vitamins A, B, C, E, calcium, iron and fiber. In fact, just a half-cup serving of raw blackberries has about the same fiber content as 3/4 cup of brown rice. Lab studies on these thorny-bushed berries at The Ohio State University (my alma mater!) showed the ability to stop tumor formation in the oral cavity, as well as proliferation of colon cancer cells.

As with most fruits, you get the maximum health benefits when you eat them raw. I've always preferred to eat them just as they are — nature's candies — but then I took a tour of cyberspace and found these wildly creative recipes. While raw, each one just enhances their flavor. Try one or try them all, but please, watch out for those thorns!




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