Blackberry & Raspberry
Updated: Feb 22
Two berry cousins that have many things in common but are two completely different fruits!
The blackberry and raspberry are two varieties of sweet nutritious fruit composed of little juicy bubbles containing seeds called drupelets. Both come from a very large and diverse flowering plant in the rose family, the Rosaceae. Growing best in cool climate regions, they are both opportunistic plants that originate from various continents, but not Australia. Blackberries have been introduced in New South Wales about 180 years ago and quickly were considered as a significant weed. They are everywhere in fields and woods and very often we pull some out of our garden as thanks to the wild bird droppings. My husband's mum reckons the wild blackberries are the best of all for making jams and she is probably right because her Clearstream's Farm wild blackberry jam has been her most popular variety for years! At the farm, located in Batlow, she cultivates multiple types of berries and the biggest jumbo raspberries I've ever seen! They are so delicious we enjoy them all summer long. Foraging wild blackberries is a long time passion for her and in my first years in Australia, when living on the farm, I was following most family picking adventures... and ouch those thorns! I've also learned to watch where I put my feet in the bush as stinging ants get into boots... and this is when I made my first face-to-face with a black snake! Today most of the vines that were invading the farm were removed for biological and bushfire safety matters (and were lucky we did). As the wild blackberry jam is a favourite variety for many people, she still has special access to a safe and chemical free location for picking the fruits and to satisfy her customers with a fair good supply of jam.
Berry fruits, jams and smoothies • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019
GROWING & COOKING TIPS
In our Tumba backyard, we now have a little row of raspberries along a path that we snack on when passing by. The berries we get from the farm mostly go in the freezer as they are highly perishable and make such great smoothies and other recipes that can be used all year long. Blackberries and raspberries have distinct tastes but can be prepared in the same way for desserts and jams. The blackberry fruit is a little more tart, especially the wild ones, so they can be added in savoury meals like pizzas, salads, sauces, etc. As for raspberries, there is nothing better than to nibble on them fresh but I also like making yoghurt topping, infused vinegar and also freeze some in ice cubes for summer drinks. My favourite dessert with both berries is a "fruit picker" version of the Canadian traditional pudding cake called "Pouding chômeur"(recipe coming soon). If you live in the right climate, both raspberries and blackberries are easy and hardy perennial plants (but also invasive). It is important to control the plants with pruning and use thick gloves as the woody stems are thorny, especially the blackberries. The raspberries are straight canes that crop in summer and autumn (or throughout the whole season in some cases). Blackberry varieties, like the boysenberry, crop in early summer and the wild blackberries in late summer. At this time of year (mid-February), we can enjoy both fresh raspberries and wild blackberries. Berry fruits are full of antioxidants, vitamin C and fibres and can be bought locally if you don't grow your own, or go to local fruit stalls and co-ops near you!
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