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July 2, 2019

Blackberry Season is Here!

In the U.S., Oregon is the leading commercial blackberry producer.  Here in eastern Tennessee, we find them at local farmers’ markets as well as in the grocery store.  Their deep, purple sheen attracts our eyes.  The soft, juicy berries fill our mouths with fresh, sweet, and slightly tart flavor.  Blackberries are not technically a berry, but rather an aggregate bramble fruit.  Did you know that blackberries have been used for medicinal purposes by the ancient Greeks, native Americans, and other peoples worldwide? 

Our blackberry coffee cake is only one way to use this delicious berry.

Blackberries capture the sweet taste of summer.

Chewing the leaves was a remedy for mouth ailments and a tea brewed from the leaves, roots, and bark was used to treat pertussis.  The fruit, high in vitamin C, was used to treat scurvy.  A 1771 document recommended a tea of blackberry leaves, stem, and bark for stomach ulcers.  https://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackberry  

They are rich in vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber.  They also are anti-oxidant rich.  The fruit also has been used to dye fabric and the stems to make rope.  The wild plants have sharp thorns, so have been used as barriers against large animals.  The berry is often used in desserts, jams, jelly, wine, pies, and crumbles.  We use it is this delicious coffee cake.  What a way to start your day!

Blackberry, Walnut, Bran Coffeecake

 

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

 

Grease or spray 9X13 baking pan

 

Mix together the following ingredients:

 

1          cup                  sugar  

½         cup                  vegetable oil

2                                  eggs

¼         cup                  molasses

1          tsp                   vanilla 

1          cup                   oat bran

2          cups                all-purpose flour

1          tbsp.                baking powder

1          tsp                   salt                 

1          cup                  fresh blackberries 

1          cup                  chopped walnuts

 

Bake 35-40 minutes (or until top is brown and tester comes out clean)  

Yield: 18 squares

To get this delicious taste of summer year-round, you can substitute frozen blackberries.  This recipe is also a treat when made with blackberries, raspberries, or your favorite berry mix.