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Thursday, July 8, 2021

Backyard Bounty; Black Raspberries


 Thanks to some resourceful and well traveled little birdies, I have these beautiful little gems in the backyard.  I'd walked past and wondered about them for quite some time, curious, enough to do a bit of research, with fruitful results.  The vines are relatively new to the landscape, and I was walking past them on my way to my small growing station, where some of my Rainbow Chard, Spinach and Brassica microgreens are taking advantage of the morning sun. 
I noted that the berries were very characteristic of what I know to be blackberries, our yard has two types, tasty and fresh, though not enough to 'stick in your eye', as the elders would say, only fit for a nice little bite of sunshine, while stirring around with yard chores, not even a bowlful.  Even still, we do have more blackberry vines on the outskirts of the thicket in our field.  I also have a neighborhood friend that once brought me a gallon bucket full! This was 2 summers ago.  He tells me that it's looking good for another good harvest and is keeping me in mind, fingers crossed.  I'm  already making plans for a delicious Blackberry Cobbler, scones and jam.  

The Black Raspberry looks very much like a blackberry at first glance, but if you pay attention to some of its characteristics, you will see the differences.  Leaf cluster and berry arrangement are two of them.  I found a spectacular article on a site while doing positive identification research that breaks these properties down in a way that really opened my eyes and was very comprehensive as well as informative, just scan this QR code for the full article!  

If you can't scan the code, simply follow this link to discover whether your 'blackberry' vines are actually black raspberries!  Identifythatplant.com .  The author does a fantastic job of helping you identify the treasures that could be hiding in plain sight, in your own backyard or even a walking trail, meadow or nearby field.  Organic Raspberries fetch a pretty penny in the supermarket, around $6 a pint, so why not do a little foraging and save on your fresh fruit budget.

Black Raspberries, also known as thimble-berries and black caps, not to be confused with the Death Caps, which are a species of poisonous mushroom, are a powerhouse of wonderment.  Not only to they provide essential Vitamins C,E and K (which is usually more prominent in leafy greens) but also cancer thwarting antioxidants, polyphenols, fiber and anthocyanins.  Anthocyanins are responsible for the red color in fruits and veggies, the deeper the color, the more it has.  Black Raspberries are even better for you than the red variety, boasting hyper positive digestive and heart health properties.  Additionally, the black ones are are anti-inflammatory and just plain delicious!  

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