Blackberry Fun Facts and Recipes in Lieu of the Upcoming NC Blackberry Festival
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The 19th annual North Carolina Black Berry Festival will be held this Friday July 15th and Saturday July 16th in downtown Lenoir. In honor of the upcoming festival N.C. Cooperative Extension wanted to share some interesting facts and recipes involving blackberries!
The Blackberry Industry is an important part of North Carolina’s Economy. As of 2021 there are approximately 1000 acres in NC where blackberries are being grown. The hot humid summers of NC are the perfect conditions for blackberries to grow. In Central and Western NC, blackberries are grown in open fields, while in Eastern NC they are grown in tunnels.
There are around 375 species of blackberries that can be found all over the world. Blackberries have a unique life cycle, the plants have a perennial root system and a biennial cane system. This means the root system or plant base live throughout the year, while the canes or the buds that produce the actual blackberries die every year after fruiting. If you are interested in growing your own blackberries, know that it will take around two years after planting to bear its first fruit. A great resource for learning all about planting your own blackberries can be found on NC State Extension’s website.
Incorporating blackberries into your daily diet is a good way to increase your intake of vitamins and antioxidants with important health benefits. You can enjoy fresh, uncooked fruits by themselves, or you can add them, with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, to warm oats or plain low-fat yogurt. If you are craving something sweeter or find the seeds hard to chew, consider trying blackberry jams or juice concentrates or adding blackberries into your baked goods. Here are two recipes provided by Virginia Cooperative Extension to get you started.
Fresh Berry Oatmeal (Makes 1 serving)
Recipe and nutrition facts by Maike from “Cheerful Cook”
1 cup almond milk (unsweetened) 1/3 cup steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup blackberries 2 tablespoons pecans
- Bring the almond milk to a boil. Add the steel- cut oats and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Stir occasionally and cook for 10-12 minutes.
- Add crushed pecans, raisins, cinnamon, and a dash of salt to the simmering oats.
- Allow the oatmeal to simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Once the oatmeal has reached your desired consistency, transfer it into a bowl.
- Add fresh berries and drizzle maple syrup on top.
Per serving: 490 calories; 83 g carbohydrate; 12 g protein; 14 g fat (1 g saturated fat); 336 mg sodium; 450 mg potassium; 14 g fiber; 16 g sugar; 155IU vitamin A; 16.7 mg vitamin C; 395 mg calcium; 3.9 mg iron.
Honey Sweetened Oat Whole Wheat Blackberry Muffins (Makes 12 muffins)
Recipe and nutrition facts by Jami from “An Oregon Cottage”
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 1 cup whole rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil (expeller pressed sunflower, melted coconut, or mild olive)
1/3 cup honey
3/4 cup milk
1 cup fresh berries, plus more for tops, if desired optional: sugar-cinnamon sprinkle on tops
- Heat oven to 400°F and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
- Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl.
- Whisk wet ingredients in a measuring glass.
- Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix slowly with a wooden spoon.
- Gently fold in 1 cup of blackberries. 6. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
Serving size: 1 Muffin
Per serving: 153 calories; 23 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 5.8 g fat (1 g saturated fat); 15 mg cholesterol; 64 mg sodium; 1.5 g fiber; 9.4 g sugar.
To learn more about blackberries please visit N.C. Cooperative Extension’s website.