Botanical Name: Syzygium cuminii
Family Name : Myrtaceae
About 75 species of black berry are found in India. A genus of trees or shrubs, it is distributed in the tropics. Some species bear edible fruits, a few yield timber and some species give the cloves of commerce. Black Berry tree is a large and evergreen tree with leaves opposite, 8-20 cm long, leathery. Fruit 1.5-4 cm long, violet black when ripe. Seed usually one. Fruit is eaten raw with salt. It makes the tongue purplish for hours.
Blackberries have only been domesticated very, very, recently - wild berries were always available in hedgerows and woodland margins, and some species were aggressive weeds of pastures and fields, so the idea of deliberately planting them was regarded as madness. But with increasing urbanization, access to wild berries was much reduced, and in from the late 1860's onward there was an effort to find bigger and better wild berry plants to bring into the garden, especially in America. It is from natural hybrids in America, and selections and hybridization between wild species in Europe, that most of our commercial blackberries come. It would be fair to say that modern blackberries are not much different from wild berries except in size.
Properties of blackberries
Stomachic, astringent, diuretic, antidiabetic.
Forms of Use :- Fruit, juice, vinegar, seed powder.
Food Value of blackberries
The edible pulp forms 75% of the whole fruit. Analysis of the edible part shows the following composition (per 100 gms):
Glucose and fructose are the principal sugars in ripe fruit; not even a trace of cane sugar is found. Malic acid is the major acid (0.5% of the wt. of fruit); a small quantity of oxalic add is also reported. Gallic acid and tannins account for the astringency of the fruit.
The purple colour of the fruit is due to the presence of flavours and anthocyanin pigments occurring as plant diglycosides.
Medicinal Uses & benefits
Blackberries were ranked fourth in tests to identify the most antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables. The natural antioxidant 'phenols' in blackberries have been found to have antioxidant properties comparable to fresh grapes and red wines. Interestingly, further studies have shown that blackberries, while having the fourth highest anti-oxidant concentration, are SECOND in actual chemical effectiveness in preventing oxidation in cells. Most of this anti-oxidant activity is in the juicy portion.
Purple fruit is liked by all and eaten throughout India. A wine is prepared from ripe fruit in Goa. It is used for making squashes and jellies. A good jelly can be made from the purple-fleshed fruits. A jam can also be prepared from pitted fruits. The juice of unripe fruits is used for preparing vinegar.
Canned blackberries may also be used in pies, tarts, and cobblers. The juice that the berries are packed in can be used for syrup or as a flavoring because the juice carries the delicious flavor and color of the blackberries.
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