Experts are touting this year’s crop of British blackberries as larger, more sweet and more versatile in snacking and meal prep than hedgerow varieties. All the more reason for consumers to select them in their supermarkets and avoid that enticing pick.
Agromonists say this “new generation” of blackberries doesn’t have the same bite as the 300 or so wild sub-species – and that’s a good thing. The other blackberries can be too bitter and ruin a dessert or healthy, on-the-go treat.
In fact, those appearing in shops are “carefully bred by expert pomologists” and far more consistent in terms of quality and flavour. The one big difference, though, is size. Supermarket varieties can be more than twice as large … and this year they look to be on the mark.
“Shoppers this year will be able to enjoy sweet and juicy British blackberries well beyond hedgerow season thanks to the advanced techniques of our growers,” says Nick Marston, chairman of British Berry Growers.
Now boasting a 36-week stay on supermarket shelves (April to November), British blackberries are more delicious now because of smart picking – removing blackberries from their plants after just one year. Along with proper cold storage that “artificially extend their winter dormancy”, this ensures that they are more plump and sweet than their counterparts.
Peak production of the blackberries happens now, but they are a year-round money maker for the industry. Retail sales are at £1.7 billion annually, while soft fruits overall will influse £3.18 billion into the British economy over the next five years. Berries are the No. 1 pick in terms of fruits for consumers and hold a robust 28% of market share.
All of them contain enormous health benefits for consumers, including blackberries.
“Blackberries are particularly high in vitamin C, fibre, and vitamin K,” Marston says. “Blackberries are also high in manganese, which helps boost bone development and the absorption of nutrients. There’s also research that they may contribute to brain health.”
British Berry Growers’ Nature’s Vitamin campaign is one way retailers can help promote these benefits to consumers. Another is through tastings, in-store demonstrations and recipe cards. Here are a few ideas:
Healthy blackberry recipes
- Superfast superfood salad
- Superberry kale and roasted garlic bruschetta
- Spiced lamb skewers with blackberry quinoa salad
- Vitamin C smoothie
- Blackberry and beetroot hummus
Blackberry health facts:
- Great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese.
- Contain dietary fibre which helps your digestive system function.
- May help with brain function and help prevent memory loss.
- Help prevent bacteria that can cause oral disease.
- Low in calories, carbohydrates and fat.
There more than 60 blackberry recipes available on the Love Fresh Berries website at www.lovefreshberries.com/recipes.