Hello and welcome to my post on the bodacious blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), also known as a bramble, and a member of the rose family. I have to admit that this delicious berry has an abundance of remarkable properties that surprised me. However, now that I know that bit more, it would be selfish of me not to share! So, let’s start by looking at the folklore behind the berry, which is always my favourite part of my research.
According to folklore, St Michael cast the devil out of heaven. Unfortunately, much to his chagrin, and somewhat painfully, the devil had the misfortune to land on a bramble bush! Following his rather abrupt introduction to earth, on St Michael’s Day (29th September), he cursed the bramble bush forever. Consequently, it’s now believed, from this date, that year’s crop of brambles are no longer palatable and shouldn’t be picked. That said, however, depending on where you live in the world, you’ll find varying versions of this piece of folklore.
Historically, the blackberry bush has been used to concoct many herbal remedies. And it was once believed that passing your sick baby through an arch, formed by a trailing bramble branch, could cure them of whooping cough! You had to pass them through the arch seven times hoping this would work! Also, adults with conditions such as rickets or rheumatism could expect the same results by adopting this process. Let’s hope this is one folklore that they didn’t practise in reality!
Blackberries and Herbal Medicine
Moving on, it’ll come as no surprise to you that the blackberry possesses properties which can treat various ailments. But, did you know there are a plethora of conditions in which this baby can work its magic? Here are some that might grab your attention:
- First of all, young blackberry leaves are a powerful source of antioxidants, as are the berries.
- They have powerful anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties.
- Blackberry leaves and roots are a well-recognised remedy for anaemia, along with the juice.
- Much like raspberry leaves, the leaves of the blackberry bush also regulate heavy menstruation.
- Apply an infusion externally to help with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
- Blackberry extract has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities which can kill the bacteria that cause oral disease.
- Infuse the leaves and use as a gargle to treat oral thrush.
- The root can treat dysentery when taken as a decoction.
- Use a decoction of the root to treat diarrhoea.
- And, if you’re stuck with a painful toothache, then chew on the leaves of the blackberry bush.
- Their juice is an ideal remedy for colitis.
- Whereas a tea made from the roots helps with labour pains, likewise, raspberry leaves also provide the same relief.
Did You Know?
In a strict botanical sense, the blackberry is not a berry but an aggregate fruit made up of tiny ‘drupelets’. By the way, an aggregate fruit is a fruit formed from several ovaries derived from the same flower.
Nutritional Values of the Bramble
- Brambles are fortified with calcium, helping build strong bones and teeth. Calcium also regulates muscle contractions and ensures your blood clots normally.
- The bramble is packed with vitamin C, essential for protecting your cells and keeping them healthy. Vitamin C also maintains healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage. And, not forgetting its ability to help wounds heal.
- They have a high copper content. Along with iron, this is essential for maintaining healthy blood cells and helps prevent cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
- They’re high in fibre which helps maintain bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels, and controls blood sugar levels.
- They’re also a great source of vitamin K, which we need for blood clotting and healing of wounds.
- Finally, blackberries are high in manganese, which is vital to healthy bone development and a healthy immune system.
- Large Jar
- Sterilised Bottles
- 300 g blackberries
- 100 g sugar
- 500 ml gin
- Wash the berries and place in a sterilised jar.
- Add the sugar and gin, close the jar and give it a good shake.
- Store in a cool dark place for a week, giving the jar a shake every other day to make sure the sugar has dissolved.
- Strain the gin through a muslin cloth and bottle. I know it’s going to be hard. However, this delicious drink is best consumed within one month!
- Large Jar
- Sterilised Bottles
- 1 kg blackberries
- 250 g granulated sugar
- 1 bottle (70cl) good quality vodka
- Wash the blackberries and place them in a sterilised 1.5 litre preserving jar.
- Add the sugar and lightly crush the berries with the sugar.
- Pour over the vodka, seal the jar and shake. Leave to infuse in a cool place for 2-4 weeks.
- Strain the vodka into a bottle. Serve your delicious blackberry vodka chilled, preferably from the freezer.
- Large Jar
- Sterilised jars with a secure lids
- Cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- Fill a jar about 3/4 full of blackberries.
- Pour vinegar over the berries, almost to the top of the jar.
- Cover the jar with a plastic lid, or place a layer of clingfilm between a metal lid and the vinegar to avoid corrosion.
- Place in a dark cupboard for 7 – 10 days.
- Strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth.
- Add the liquid to a saucepan with 450g of sugar per 700ml of liquid. Bring to the boil, then boil for 8-10 minutes.
- Transfer to steralised bottles.
- Store in your fridge and use within 6 months.
- 1 Steralised Bottle
- 5 tbsp blackberry vinegar
- 120 ml grapeseed or rapeseed oil
- 1 tsp French mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- pepper to taste
- Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a blender until emulsified. Pour into a steralised bottle and chill in the fridge, however, use within two weeks
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Ovenproof baking dish
- 300 g fresh blackberries or more to taste
- 400 g caster sugar divided in half
- 120 g butter
- 180 ml milk
- 100 g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 160 C / Gas 3.
- Mix blackberries and half of the caster sugar in a bowl; let stand until the mixture becomes juicy, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Place butter in a baking dish and place dish in the preheating oven until butter has melted. Remove dish from oven.
- Combine the remaining caster sugar, milk, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until mixture is smooth; pour over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon blackberry mixture on top.
- Bake in the preheated oven until bubbling and cooked through, about 1 hour.
And finally, I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post on blackberries. Don’t forget to leave your comments below. And if you don’t want to miss a post, you know what you have to do, subscribe here! In the meantime, happy foraging, stay safe and take care.