Why You Should Be Excited For Blackberry Season!
Blackberries are an icon in the Northwest
One of my earliest memories of summer in the Northwest, is picking blackberries with my dad. We had a driveway that was lined with bushes, and our neighbors would come over with ladders to reach the big ones in the back. I still associate late summer with blackberry season, and from the first glimpse of those familiar white blossoms that herald the coming berries, I eagerly await their arrival.
The numerous health benefits of blackberries
In addition to being one of the most scrumptious and velvety berries around, eating blackberries has another benefit: They are good for you! Blackberries are one of the top ten foods containing antioxidants. They are packed with polyphenols helping to prevent cancer and heart disease, and anthocyanins, which give blackberries their deep purple color and help in memory retention and the risk of hypertension.
Blackberries fight cancer, heart disease and skin damage!
Blackberries are also high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Manganese and fiber. Vitamin C protects the immune system and may lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Vitamin K aids in the absorption of calcium. Vitamin E is good for your skin; and blackberries are also a great source of ellagic acid, an antioxidant shown to protect the skin from damage from ultraviolet light.
Blackberries are said to strengthen blood vessels, help fight heart disease and help improve eyesight. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant estrogens found in blackberries that may help relieve the common symptoms of PMS like bloating, food cravings, and even menopausal symptoms including hot flashes. Is there anything this wee disease-fighter can’t do?!?
They are delicious too!
It is not unusual to find me up with the sunrise, crouched over a blackberry bush as if playing a game of Twister, grasping onto a colander that once full, will be transported to the sink for a quick rinse and then gobbled up. It’s torture waiting for them to ripen, but Full Circle can send over organic blackberries in your next delivery, just order them from the Green Grocery!
Blackberries make a great addition to your morning cereal, or a smoothie; topped with yogurt or sour cream, or just plain. However, if you want to be really decadent, try this beautiful parfait dessert on for size. There’s some prep time involved, but trust me, it’s worth every minute. And if you offer this as a token of your appreciation, your neighbors won’t care if they find you picking berries in their backyard!
- Lemon curd:
- I purchase a high quality lemon curd at the grocery store or check our Green Grocer for availability.
- Blackberry compote:
- 2 cups fresh blackberries (about 12 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons limoncello (an Italian liqueur)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
- Additional ingredients:
- 4 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 16)
- 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
- Pinch of salt
- Blackberry compote:
- Toss all ingredients in medium bowl to coat, lightly crushing some of berries to release juices. Cover and chill until sugar dissolves and juices form, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
- To assemble:
- Place cookies in large resealable plastic bag. Crush cookies with mallet or rolling pin until largest pieces are about 1/2 inch.
- Using electric mixer, beat cream, mascarpone, and pinch of salt in large bowl just until peaks form.
- Arrange six 8-ounce parfait glasses or compote cups on work surface.
- Spoon 4 to 5 berries and some of juices in bowl into each cup.
- over and chill remaining berries in bowl for serving.
- Spoon 1/4 cup mascarpone whipped cream over berries in each cup, spreading in even layer.
- Add generous 1 tablespoon curd, spreading to edges.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon crushed gingersnaps over. Repeat layering 1 more time with mascarpone whipped cream, lemon curd, and crushed gingersnaps.
- Top with remaining cream.
- Cover; chill desserts at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
- Uncover desserts. Spoon remaining berry mixture over and serve. Brace yourself for the divine!
What is your favorite blackberry-picking memory? Tell us about it in the comments below, or share your favorite way to eat these little cherubs!