The season is almost finished, but you can still pick blackberries for free, as they grow wild on thorny bushes and are cultivated on every temperate continent, including Africa and Asia. They are considered a weed by most, grow at a very fast rate, are a hardy sort covered in prickles (you learn how to pick delicately pretty quickly) and seem to grow everywhere in the UK. I often see people picking blackberries in areas near marshes and parks and it puts a smile on my face. Despite the prickliness of this thorny bush that keeps over taking my garden, it’s nice to have fresh blackberries to eat every year. Blackberries can be eaten fresh or frozen, so I always pick extra to freeze and have in my smoothies over winter.
Blackberries are high in fiber, rich in nutrients and a favourite in my kitchen. I think there something satisfying about picking these berries and not getting stabbed by their thorns (the effort makes them that much sweeter). Berries have a reputation for being packed with antioxidants, called anthocyanins, that may help keep your memory sharp the older you get (who doesn’t want that?).
In a study of 72 middle-age people published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating just under a cup of mixed berries daily for eight weeks was associated with increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure, two positives when it comes to heart health. Now that’s another fantastic super food to enjoy!