Food and Drink
Pros: Tasty, good for you, useful recipe addition, beautiful in garden
Cons: Can be invasive in a garden without management
The Bottom Line: Blackberries just might be my favorite fruit...
Dickinson's Purely Fruit line is a bit pricey. This one retails at about $3.50 and up for 10 ounces. It does have a marvelous texture to go with the fabulous taste though. It's thick, richly flavorful, and very spreadable. This gourmet jam was once only available at the finest hotels and restaurants. Dickinson's appear to be affiliated with Smucker's.
When I can catch this on sale, I do love to treat us to this delightful blackberry jam. I love it on a seasame bagel with cream cheese and a large hot tea in the morning! It's not just for toasty things though... This makes a fabulous addition to marinades for poultry or beef, turkey baste, apple pies, soups, dressings, and anywhere else you might like a touch of this delectable fruit.
I've also tried Dickinson's cherry preserves and was thrilled with the whole cherries packed inside. Their seedless red raspberry is tart and tasty as well. My only real complaint I suppose is the use of high fructose corn syrup. I'm tired of all manner of companies using this awful syrup in absolutely everything. I'm surprised they aren't adding it to clothing lines. Any way, you do get a tasty product with Dickinson's Purely Fruit, so it's up to the individual to decide if it's in your budget, or if you disapprove of their "purely fruit" spread including corn syrup. I recommend Blackberries however you can get them!
"My wine-dark fruit tempts every feathered messenger,
yet there is no part of me without virtue.
As a tonic to expecting mothers, I am no stranger.
I shatter stones, soothe throats, colds, and flu.
I cleanse and sweeten, ease breath,
provide shelter in the wild.
I am loved by Goddesses,
and every forest child."
"You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you." ~Joseph Joubert
"Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity." Hippocrates
"Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour." ~Proverbs 3:16
The poem refers to both Raspberries and Blackberries, it just depends on how dark you like your wine, I suppose but they are both useful for nearly all the same health issues. Both are certainly a welcome addition to anyone's diet! These berries have a high gallic acid and tannin content found in every part of the plant. Bioflavonoids also found in this fruit are excellent anti-oxidants which help protect us from free radicals, fatigue caused by allergic reactions, and infection. Black and Raspberries, like other berries, are also wonderful natural anti-inflammatories, and because of their antioxidant nutrients, Vitamins A, C & E, the minerals selenium, zinc, manganese and copper contents, they help to keep arteries clear.
This makes them an excellent diet choice for anyone wanting to keep blood pressure down, thin down or clean out their blood, rheumatism and other inflammatory conditions, or those with heart conditions. Blackberries are a wonderful tonic for hot flashes, anxiety, irritability, and fatigue. Combined with something like Dong Quai (a form of Angelica), Black or Blue Cohosh, all of which are natural sources of estrogen, it becomes a powerful aid to all women in various stages of menopause.
Blackberries can be dried, canned, or frozen, and you can use berries, bark of the root, or leaves. Powdered blackberries, for example, when mixed with a little water are excellent for counteracting diarrhea. Young shoots and leaves are tasty in salads. Leaves and roots can be steeped in hot water for about five minutes for an excellent tea which is excellent for mouth irritations or sore throats because of its mild astringent qualities, although it soothes upset stomachs well too.
Blackberry cordial is wonderful for anyone suffering from colds or flus, and I particularly enjoy a nice berry blend (blackberry, cherry, raspberry, and blueberry) when I'm under the weather with either of those maladies. Blackberry vinegars have been used to combat sore throats as a compress. Blackberries and Raspberries make excellent tonics for expecting mothers as it keeps circulation flowing freely, eases fatigue, and is gentle enough to not be harmful to the child.
"Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." ~Leonard Cohen
"He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life." ~George Sand, 1851
"One expected growth, change; without it, the world was less, the well of inspiration dried up, the muses fled." ~ Charles De Lint
Blackberries and Raspberries have also been used to treat dysentery, hemorrhoids, cystitis, gum inflammations, thrush, and coughs as well as to treat burns and wash wounds. The root is the most astringent part of the plant and is best used to make the throat gargles and mouthwashes. Berries and root bark simmered down into a syrup with cherries, honey, licorice/angelica, marshmallow, and citrus makes an unbeatable cough syrup to soothe throats and chests sore from coughing. Adding a little green tea and herbs like slippery elm bark, horehound, eucalyptus, hyssop, or elder flowers makes it an unrivaled treatment for bronchitis and other non-productive coughs.
Doctors used to advise those with kidney stones to drink cranberry or raspberry juice, but studies now show that if your kidney stones contain oxalate, you should avoid these beverages along with: chocolate, peanuts, tea, instant coffee (more than 8 ounces a day), rhubarb, beets, beans, beets, berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, etc. ), Concord grapes, dark leafy greens, oranges, tofu, sweet potatoes and draft beers. Otherwise, berries make an excellent diuretic, and like cranberries, are good for maintaining healthy kidneys and urinary tracts. For all their stone-shattering ability, lemon juice and plenty of water remains as the best home remedy for getting rid of, or preventing kidney stones.
"Remember the quiet wonders. The world has more need of them than it has for warriors." ~Charles De Lint
"Stone walls confine a tinker; cold iron binds a witch; but a musician's music can never be fettered, for it lives first in her heart and mind." ~ Charles De Lint
"My life is my message." Mahatma Ghandi
"In prosperity let us most carefully avoid pride, disdain, and arrogance." ~Cicero
These berries are a cane fruit. Once planted, gardeners can easily get them to spread by staking growing cane tips to the ground which encourages the cane to root. They do grow and spread rapidly so keep a close eye on them in the garden and plant them where you have plenty of space for them to spread. Once a cane has fruited, it will not produce again and should be pruned. Most varieties are thorned, but I'm particularly fond of the thornless variety for my garden. Blackberries and Raspberries, aka Brambles, have sweetly scented five-petaled white flowers that bloom from about June-September.
These vine-like berries are sacred to Brighid, Celtic triple Goddess of Forge/Crafting, Healing and Poetry. The Romans and Greeks equated her to Minerva/Athena or Hestia/Vestia, but she has also been known as: Bridg, Brigid, Bride, Bridgit, St. Bridgit, Brigantia, the Bright Mother or Goddess, Mother of Ireland, and the Fire-forged. Brambles are also associated with Aine, Celtic goddess of love/fertility, growth, and animals, especially cattle. Aine is what I refer to as a Field Goddess, much like Demeter, but she has also been referred to as a Fairy Queen.
Blackberries are also considered to be sacred to: the Norse God of Thunder Thor, Hecate, Hades, Bacchus, Lugh Lamfada, Meditrina, Greenman/Greenwoman, Harvest and Vine deities like Herne the Hunter, Love and Fertility deities, the Moon, Rabbit spirit, Deer spirit, all manner of Bird and Insect spirits, and the Fae.
"To be a poet is a condition, not a profession." ~Robert Frost
"The poetry of the earth is never dead." ~John Keats
"Life is like art. You have to work hard to keep it simple and still have meaning." Charles De Lint
Magically, they are considered to be feminine in energy, associated with the planet Venus and the element Water, although I have also seen them associated with Mars. They would be used to honor any of these deities, to invoke healing, prosperity, protection (particularly thorned). These berries have been known by the names: dewberry, thimbleberry, goutberry, cloudberry, and bramble-kite.
Passing through a Bramble arch was said to cure all the same things that one would actually treat with either Black or Red raspberries. Apple Blackberry pies are still favored for Lughnasa celebrations, representing the fertility of summer (Lugh) combined with the fertility of autumn (Brigid). Now that we can obtain them during their off seasons, they are also very welcome at Imbolc celebrations and wedding feasts.
In the language of flowers, Blackberries represent dangerous pride and Raspberries represent remorse or misery. Why Brambles have these associations has been lost over time, although in the Medieval ages it was said that the Devil was kicked out of Heaven on Michaelmas (September 29th) and when he hit the Earth, he landed in a Bramble. He is said to return every year on this date to curse and spit upon the plant that tormented him. It was considered bad to harvest or eat brambles after September 29th for this reason. Personally, I think this is simply a case of the new religion trying to discredit the old one. I prefer the outlook of B'rer Rabbit when it comes to Briar patches and Brambles!
"Hear the voice of the Bard! Who present, past, and future sees; Whose ears have heard the Holy Word, that walked among the ancient trees." ~ William Blake
"A Druid in training must be a bard before he is a priest, for music is one of the keys to the laws of the universe." ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley
"Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant." ~Horace
These lovely fruits should be celebrated and appreciated for their many connections to health, prosperity, creativity and protection. For me, Summer is not complete for without the sweet taste of berries on the tongue, still warm from the sun, greedily devoured by the handfuls as you stand waist deep in the wild woods. I prefer the sweet Blackberry over the tart Raspberry, but I'm perfectly willing to enjoy either whenever the opportunity presents itself. Brighid and Athena are very special deities to me, and the Bramble is forever marked by their hands in my opinion. Health, prosperity, love, wisdom, home, poetry... all good things flowing with dark red life directly from the heart are represented by these marvelous plants.
When I feel in need of creative inspiration, the rich taste of these fruits always brings forth poetry. Brighid is a patron of healers, bards, mothers and "fire-forged" women in general. Life is the forge in which each soul is tested by flame and hammer before being thrust into the healing waters.
Folded, hammered, buried in burning coals... this is the process that makes the keenest blades, the strongest weapons, although it is damn uncomfortable for the sword! Those who have been forge-tested, passed through the many hardships and pains of life, yet remain gentle of heart, willing to heal and help others, those who find solace in poetry and music, those who lovingly bend their talents towards any craft are beloved of Brighid.
I believe it is this dual knowledge, that life is both light and dark, sweet and painful, that brings the associations of remorse and dangerous pride. One cannot be wise without understanding the pain inherent in life, and a heart willing to love and be joyful despite the inevitable sorrows. To my mind, the Brambles are a caution that "It shows a weak mind not to bear prosperity as well as adversity with moderation." (Cicero) more than they are representative of an immoderate life and the remorse it brings. How do these Brambles appear in your life?
"Oh list' to the tale of a poor Irish harper
And scorn not the string of his old withered hands
But remember those fingers they once could move sharper
To raise up the strains of his dear native land" ~ The Bard of Armagh, lyrics from an Irish folksong
"When the blackberries hang swollen in the woods,
in the brambles nobody owns,
I spend all day
among the high branches,
reaching my ripped arms,
thinking of nothing,
cramming the black honey of summer
into my mouth;
all day my body accepts what it is.
In the dark creeks that run by
there is this thick paw of my life
darting among the black bells, the leaves;
there is this happy tongue."
- Mary Oliver, August
"Blackberries...Big as the ball of my thumb, and dumb as eyes.Ebon in the hedges, fat with blue-red juices. These they squander on my fingers. I had not asked for such a blood sisterhood; they must love me." ~ Sylvia Plath
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Food and Drink
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Food and Drink
Food and Drink