Have you jumped on the exotic-berry bandwagon, with goji, acai and a whole bunch more? Berries are little antioxidant bombs, but they don’t always have to be sourced from miles away and bought at exorbitant prices.
Score the same (plus some) benefits from the locally-grown, often underrated blackberry. From June to August, it is filled with juicy goodness and plays an important role in preventing diseases.
There’s a reason seasonal fruit works for our bodies: the phytochemicals that protect the plant against disease during a particular season also give us protection.
They work against inflammation and help in the detoxification process. Flavonoids, one of the main phytochemicals in blackberry, “are synthesised by plants in response to microbial infection, and hence are very effective antimicrobial substances against a wide array of micro-organisms,” says a paper published in the Indian Journal of Scientific Research.
The polyphenols present are anti-cancer and protect the body from free radicals that damage cells.
Blackberry is hypoglycaemic. This means that eating it helps keep your blood sugar stable, so it’s a great snack.
It also has micronutrients: calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium, vitamin C, and B vitamins. It is heart-protective, thanks to its high potassium content. And it’s low-cal: 100 gms delivers just 62 calories.
It’s your stomach’s friend and aids in digestion, is a carminative and a diuretic.
Blackberry is one locally-grown fruit that is mostly organic and can be added to your armoury of health foods. Nick Duncan, corporate chef, The Roseate, Duke City, finds blackberry a very versatile food. Here are some of his favourite recipes.
50 g rice
25 g idli rice
25 g shelled black gram
3 tbsp blackberry puree (churn in mixie)
Salt to taste
In a bowl, mix rice, idli rice and black gram, and soak for 4 hours. Then grind the mix to fine consistency. Add blackberry puree.
Keep the batter overnight at room temperature to ferment. In the morning, pour into idli steamer and steam for 13 minutes. Makes 8-10 pieces.
Nutrition: Energy 234 kcal; carbohydrates 50.4 g; protein: 605 g; fat .5 g; fibre 2.2 g; sodium 1168 mg
Blackberry panzanella salad
1/2 large bell pepper
1 tbsp capers
12 blackberrys, sliced
10 leaves basil
1 slice bread made into croutons
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & crushed black pepper to taste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
Make vinaigrette by mixing olive oil, salt pepper, Dijon mustard and lemon juice. Whisk it to a slightly thick consistency. Now mix all the ingredients together and toss them in a bowl with vinaigrette. Top the salad with bread croutons and basil. Serves 2.
Nutrition: Energy 119.5 kcal; carbohydrates 12.1 g; protein: .9 g; fat 8 g; fibre 1.7 g; sodium 1252.5 mg