My Weight Loss Progress

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bitter Blackberries

By De-okin (talk) 12:34, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
While visiting my son, we stopped at a store for some snacks.  I bought a small container of blackberries, because I love them. Growing up, I used to pick them straight off the vines in my backyard and eat them. We also put them in homemade ice cream and made wonderful blackberry pie. They weren't big like the ones we see in the store, but they were so delicious!

The day I bought them with my son, they were not so delicious. Though they were fat and juicy, they left a bitter taste.  It was disappointing, and it often happens with purchased berries.  I have discovered the obvious--wash them!  I don't know if they have some sort of spray to keep them fresh, but washing them takes away the bitter taste for me.

Apparently bitter blackberries is quite a problem, as I discovered when I googled the term.  Maybe I've just been lucky with washing them.  I am also careful to watch for signs of mold, though that is a slightly different taste.

In case washing them is not enough for you, here are some other things to try.

  1. Don't bite into the seeds or core.  In How to Enjoy a Blackberry there are step-by-step instructions on how to eat a blackberry, with beautiful pictures.  I don't sort out the seeds or core, but I don't chew the berries much either.  I guess I just sort of mash them in my mouth and then swallow. Another option to this is to press the berries and strain out the juice from the cores and stems, but this also takes out the fiber of the skin.
  2. The sweetest, ripest blackberries have a dull finish. The shiniest ones are greener and not as sweet. (New York Times
  3. Growers are growing their berries to be sweeter and sturdier for shipping. (New York Times) Maybe it's nothing I do at all--except that when I don't wash them I still get that bitter taste.
  4. When choosing blackberries, jiggle the box gently. They should be firm enough that they make a particular soft bumping noise. Also look carefully at them for signs of mold. One moldy berry can quickly infect an entire box. Always look through the sides to the bottom of the box. That's where the ugly ones seem to hide. Test them by feel. They should be soft but not squishy. 
  5. Buy in season; you have to know when they are supposed to be locally available and fresher. (I've been buying them year-round with no problem, but many are grown in Mexico and other warm places now.)
  6. Some interesting advice was given at Chowhound. If you buy blackberries at a farmer's market, ask the farmer if they've been sprayed with pesticide. Ask for a taste test. Check to be sure they are not overripe.
  7. Eat the fruit with an item that contains a high level of fat, such as heavy cream. This will mask the bitterness but not get rid of it.
  8. Use them in a smoothie with other fruits and sugar to mask the flavor.
  9. Buy frozen blackberries. They tend not to have the bitter taste, but are more likely to be sour.
  10. Grow your own berries--but watch out for stinkbugs.  
  11. Readers at Yahoo Answers had a variety of answers.
    • Add sugar
    • Add a pinch of salt
    • Add a dash of lemon juice with the sugar. The tart lemon helps mask the bitterness.
    • My granny always put the blackberries in water on low heat and let them cook for a bit and added just enough sugar to take the bitterness away. She did not add salt or butter to the berries, just a bit of sugar and corn starch to thicken the juices. Her cobblers were never bitter.
    • Put them in a bowl and cover them in sugar; leave them alone in room temp. for a couple of hours for the sugar to be absorbed, them add them to the cobbler.
    • Maple-flavoured golden syrup and a squeeze of lemon juice.
    • Let them ripen up, only solution to this is time...

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