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Blackberries - preparation and storage

Fast Facts

Blackberries ripening on the vine at our Fruit Research Station.
  • Arkansas blackberries are available from late May-July.
  • Blackberries are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.
  • Select berries that are uniformly black, firm, and plump.
  • Make sure berries are dry before storing.

Storage Tips

  • Sort blackberries to remove very soft berries, leaves or stems, and insects. Soft or damp berries should be used as soon as possible.
  • Blackberries should not be washed until just before being used. If your berries are damp, gently dry them on paper towels.
  • Store blackberries uncovered in a shallow container in the refrigerator for one to two days.

Preparation Tips

  • Wash blackberries using a strainer or submerge in water and gently lift from vessel. Remove any stems and dry by placing in a single layer on paper towels.
  • Cultivated, thornless blackberries do not always “juice” when they are baked in pies and cobblers. To form a successful filling, crush about a third of the berries and gently mix with the whole berries and other filling ingredients before being poured into the pie shell or cobbler pan.
  • Puree blackberries with fruit juices and/or other fruits and freeze to use in recipes, like popsicles. Yogurt can be added to the mixture before freezing for extra flavor and nutrition.
  • Orange, lemon, cinnamon and nutmeg flavors blend well with blackberry flavors.

Blackberry Recipes
Caucasian hands cupped together holding blackberries

Blackberry Lemonade

  • 3 cups fresh blackberries
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 (1.9 ounce) package sugar-free pink lemonade drink

Process blackberries in a blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides. Pour through a fine wire mesh strainer into a 2-quart pitcher, discard solids. Stir in water, sugar and drink mix. Serve over ice cubes. Refrigerate unused portions. You can garnish the cups with mint leave or lemon slices if desired.


Tart and Tangy Blackberry Lemon Dessert

  • 1 package (3ounce) lemon gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water and cool slightly. Then stir in yogurt. Refrigerate until partially set. Gently fold in blackberries. Pour into a single serving container or serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm. Makes 4 servings.


Blackberry Pudding

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
    to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon margarine or butter
  • 3 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Blend crumb mixture and margarine together with a fork until fine. Layer 1 cup of berries in an 8-inch square baking dish. Cover with 1/2 cup of crumb mixture. Repeat layers. Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Makes 4 servings.


 Blackberry Preserves

  • 2 lbs. blackberries (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups berry juice
  • 4½ cups of sugar

Wash and carefully pick berries, being careful to use only large, firm, uniformly ripened berries. Crush the soft or broken berries, heat and strain to obtain the berry juice for the syrup. Mix sugar and berry juice, bring to boil and add berries slowly. Cook until berries are clear and plump. Remove berries to trays and continue to cook syrup until desired consistency is reached. Pour syrup over berries and let stand covered until cold. Pack cold in sterilized jars, seal and
process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Makes about 4 half-pint jars.


Interested in canning blackberries?

Having the right equipment in good condition is a must for safe, high quality home canned food. You’ll need either a pressure canner or a water bath canner, depending on the type of food you want to preserve.

A pressure canner is essential for canning low-acid vegetables, meats, fish and poultry. There are two basic types available. One has a metal weighted gauge and the other has a dial gauge to indicate the pressure inside the canner. 

*It is important to have the dial gauge tested every year. If your gauge is off more than 2 pounds at the recommended pressure, it will need to be replaced.

County Extension Agents offer free dial gauge testing every year!

Contact your county agent for more information.

A boiling water bath canner is used for canning high-acid foods like fruits, pickles, jellies and jams.  The canner needs to be deep enough to allow at least one or two inches of water to boil over the tops of the jars.  Both types of canners should have a rack in the bottom to keep jars off the bottom of the canner. 

Make sure you have the right equipment. Check out our page Heirloom canners may not be safe

For more information on safe canning procedures visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

 

P.S. Did you know that we do blackberry research?
Dr. John Clark examines blackberries on the vine

We've released a new high-quality variety of blackberry called, Caddo. This blackberry has a mouthful of flavor and is a thornless variety from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s fruit breeding program.

“Caddo is really exciting because it adds to our collection of high-flavor blackberries,” said Dr. John Clark, Distinguished Professor of horticulture and fruit breeding for the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the Division of Agriculture. “It has very good fruit flavor and large berries.”

Check out our article. Arkansas Releases High-Quality, Thornless Blackberries

Want to grow your own blackberries?

Check out our gardening page and get started! Blackberries and Raspberries in Arkansas 

 

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