The dark colour of blackberries is a clue that they have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits. Blackberries have significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid, tannin, quercetin, gallic acid, cyanidin, pelargonidin, catechins, kaempferol, and salicylic acid – antioxidant compounds with health benefits against cancer, ageing, inflammation and neurological diseases. As well as high levels of bioflavonoids and vitamin C (a 100g serving has 23mg or 35 per cent of the recommended daily allowance), they also have low sodium levels, few calories and soluble and insoluble fibre.
Plant in full sun in friable soil with plenty of organic matter. Make sure there is protection from wind. Blackberries have strongly upright canes, which are self-supporting, but a framework is useful to contain their vigorous growth and to make harvesting easier.
Blackberries are ripe when the fruit turns from shiny purple-black to a dull, dark black colour and when picked the plug remains attached to the fruit. Pick them before the birds get them!