Blackberries are late season autumn berries that are well worth the wait. This dark purple fruit is high in vitamin C, vitamin E and, like other dark berries, antioxidants.
The path to great blackberries is paved by the 4 P's; Purchasing, Prepping, Preserving and Preparing.
Purchasing: When you're looking for the perfect blackberries and you can not get out to the farm yourself to pick them, you want to keep your eyes out for a nice, purple-black color. The berries should be firm, but still plump looking. They should also be dry, but not too dry – you want some juiciness about it. Like most fruits and vegetables, the best smelling and most fragrant ones are the tastiest, so give them a good smell.
Preparation: Do not wash or rinse the berries until you're ready to use them. Otherwise, the extra moisture and condensation could speed up the spoiling process. When you're ready, rinse the berries thoroughly under low-pressure running water. Pick out any loose stems or leaves.
Preserving: If you're not going to use the berries within a few days or purchasing or picking them, then you'll need to preserve them. The easiest way is to freeze them. A good method is to lay out the berries on a flat tray, freeze them and then move them to a plastic freezer bag. This will keep them from freezing as one solid clump.
Preparation: If you plan on serving the berries solo with a touch of cream and sugar, then fresh is best. But, if your blackberry dreams are pinned on pies, puddings, crumbles, and jams then frozen blackberries will do just fine, but remember that cooking and processing, like in all produce, will drastically reduce the levels of Vitamin C and Vitamin B. Like all fruits and vegetables, blackberries combine best with other fruits from their season, so try matching them with apples and squash for fantastic flavor.