Thursday, June 4, 2009

I love blackberries but like most people I don't like sour blackberries. A funny thing is a lot of women like to eat sour fruit, some add salt which takes away the sour taste.

The secret to buying sweet blackberries is the size of the kernels on the blackberry, small tightly packed kernels means the fruit is sour, big robust round kernels means the fruit is sweet and juicy. If you're not sure what I mean open a package at the store and try a sample.

Fresh blackberries should look shiny, glossy and beautiful; if they look dull and lacklustre, you will be disappointed in the flavor and quality. This fruit has a very short shelf life, not more than 5 days after they're picked before they start to mold and if the berries were picked after the rain expect white mold to showup within 24 hours. Blackberrie and raspberries are especially subsceptable to sunburn. Sometimes you will see a kernel that looks like a dried raisin this is caused by sunburn. Some years heat waves destroy much of the berry crops.

Berries should be picked early in the day for best quality, usually before 1:00 pm or below 28 C./80 F. and need to be cooled down immediately. Forced air cooling is best as noted in my raspberry post.

Turn over the baskets and make sure there is no juice running from the containers, and the pad on the bottom of the container is not stained black with juice; when shaken lightly, the berries should not be stuck together, a sign of mold.

The reason it's hard to find sweet blackberries is because they don't travel well and they're shelf life is minimal when they're picked ripe; causing a lot of problems for the grower and the retailer. Best to buy this item at your local farmer's market.

Blackberries are one of the biggest sources of antioxidants, more than blueberries; and the best quality berries are about 1 1/2 times the size of a cherry.


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