Harvest of the Month – September Blackberries
Blackberries are Chris’s favorite fruit so I figured September was a good place to put them in because they are his favorite AND his birthday is September 1….The same as my Dad’s.
By Barbara Bankhead
To many of us, blackberries are a rather nostalgic fruit. Memories are filled with hand picking baskets full at grandma’s house or making a delicious blackberry jam on a hot summer day. Native to the United States, these tasty berries grow wildly in various regions across the country. Blackberries are one of the easiest fruits to cultivate at home. These perfectly tart berries flourish in the warmer months of summer and early fall, populating small shrubs as well as trailing vines. Like the raspberry, blackberries are an aggregate fruit meaning they are produced in groups connected to the branch of a shrub or vine. Blackberries ripen when they are on the vine so during harvest be sure to pick them when they are ready to eat: soft, bright and aromatic.
Nutrients Nutrients Nutrients
Lucky for us berry lovers, the amount of health promoting nutrients are never ending! A blackberry’s dark blue color guarantees it’s makeup of cancer fighting antioxidants. Vitamin C is another illness stopping nutrient in the blackberry. Blackberries contain pectin which can act as a great ingredient for jams or jellies as well as a heart healthy component. Along with soluble fiber, pectin reduces the amount of LDLs or ‘bad’ cholesterol in our bodies. The darkly hued berries are full of tannins which benefit the gut as they soothe the side effects of diarrhea and inflammation.
Traditionally, blackberries contribute not only to our taste buds and our health, but also in medicinal uses. The leaves of a blackberry can be utilized to treat inflamed gums or in some circumstances, a sore throat. With the perfect mixture of sweetness and tartness, these berries are found in a number of light summertime recipes like tarts and cobblers.
Blackberry Oat-Bran Muffins
From Martha Stewart
Yields: 12 servings
Total Cooking time: 45 minutes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2/3 cup oat bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups chopped blackberries
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk together flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with buttermilk, and beat until combined. Fold in blackberries.
- Divide batter among muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out with moist crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes, then transfer muffins to rack and let cool completely.