Black raspberries are often called the “king of berries” for the superior health benefits that they offer. Other names for black raspberries are wild black raspberry, black caps, black cap raspberry, thimble berry, and scotch cap.
Black Raspberries is a common name for three species of the genus Rubus. Rubus leucodermis is native to western North America, Rubus occidentalis, native to eastern North America and Rubus coreanus, also known as Korean black raspberry, native to Korea, Japan, and China.
About the Black Raspberry plant
Black Raspberry is a deciduous shrub growing from 2 metres to around 3 metres tall. The leaves are pinnate, with five leaflets on leaves, strong-growing stems in their first year, and three leaflets on leaves on flowering branch-lets and having prickly shoots to them.
About the Black Raspberry Flowers
The flowers of the plant are distinct having long, slender sepals that are 6–8 mm long, more than twice as long as the petals. The round-shaped black raspberries are about 12–15 mm in diameter.
Variants of Black Raspberries – Yellow Raspberries
These yellow raspberries are occasionally propagated, especially in home/farm gardens in the mid western United States. The yellow variants of the black raspberry retain that species’ distinctive flavor, different from the similar-appearing pale-fruited variants of cultivated red raspberries but with some being the North American Rubus strigosus, and other cultivars representing hybrids between these two widespread species.
About the Black Raspberry Fruits
Black raspberries have dark purple-black fruits that are rich in antho-cyanins which is a type of pigment. However, due to occasional mutations in the genes controlling antho-cyanin production, yellow-fruited variants ie the yellow raspberries are sometimes formed. They are edible, containing a high portion of ellagic acid and antho-cyanins.
Commercial Harvesting of Black Raspberries
Black raspberries are grown commercially in Korea and in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The main cultivar, ‘Munger’, is grown on about 1500 acres of land. Other cultivars include ‘John Robertson’, ‘Allen’, ‘Jewel’, ‘Blackhawk’, ‘Macblack’, ‘Plum Farmer’, ‘Dundee’, ‘Hanover’, and ‘Huron’.
The black raspberry plants are summer tipped by hand, mechanically pruned in winter and then machine harvested. The yields are generally low per acre and this is why the fruits are often expensive.
The black raspberries are typically dried or frozen, made into purees and juices, or processed as colorants, which can then be used as a natural dye. Fresh black raspberries are also marketed in season. Two well-known alcoholic liqueurs that are based predominantly on the black raspberry fruit include France’s Chambord Liqueur Royale de France and South Korea’s various kinds of Bokbunja.
5 Amazing Health Benefits of Black Raspberries
- Black raspberries contains the highest levels of antioxidants among other fruits and berries – An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Antioxidants help prevent the damaging effects of oxidation on cells throughout your body, are plentiful in many foods, primarily fruits and vegetables. The ORAC level of black raspberries is 77 μmoles/TE/g, which is about three times higher than blue berries, a very powerful antioxidant. Black Raspberries and other berries are also rich in ellagic acid which is a powerful antioxidant. Anti-oxidants help keep the body healthy and are anti cancer and heart healthy.
The rich amounts of anti-oxidants in these berries also protect the nervous system by inhibiting an enzyme that may be involved in certain neurological disorders, including depression, schizophrenia and autism.
2. Black raspberries contain anti-cancer properties – Black Raspberries are great at fighting breast cancers naturally as well as one of the most powerful cervical cancer fighting foods along with offering protection against other types of cancer. The fruit was also found to possess extremely strong pro-apoptotic effects against the tested colon cancer cell line.
As their name suggests, pro-apoptotic foods and compounds promote apoptosis, a natural process that your body uses to get rid of unneeded or abnormal cells.
3. Black raspberries contains anthocyanins – Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid which exhibit strong anti-oxidant effects. This is also responsible for the pigments that give red, purple, and blue plants the rich coloring. Anthocyanins may also offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits along with fending off major health problems, including heart disease and cancer and promoting eye health.
Preliminary research into anthocyanins suggests that they may also offer protection against obesity. In a 2008 study from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists found that mice fed an anthocyanin-enriched high-fat diet for eight weeks gained less weight than mice fed a high-fat diet without anthocyanins.
4. Black Raspberries contain powerful immune benefits – Black Raspberries contain a rich dose of antioxidants, polyphenols and several minerals like selenium which help boost the immune system by killing the free radicals that are formed as byproducts of normal processes in the body or enter the body from harmful environments. The antioxidants help prevent against several forms of cancer and help bolster the immune system.
5. Black raspberries contain anti-Inflammatory properties – A study published in the September 2001 issue of the journal ‘Phytomedicine’ tested the cyclooxygenase-inhibiting activities of a number of anthocyanin-rich fruits and found that anthocyanins from sweet cherries and raspberries had cyclooxygenase-inhibiting activities, similar to those of ibuprofen and naproxen.
The anti-inflammatory benefits of raspberries are not limited to their potential anti-arthritis effects. Another research study published in March 2011 of the journal Carcinogenesis found that in an experimental mouse model of ulcerative colitis, mice that were treated with freeze-dried black raspberries for seven days experienced a significant drop in the expression of several pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Ulcerative colitis is characterized by abnormally high levels of cytokines, which in turn can damage the lining of the colon and increase the risk for colon cancer.
Black Raspberries also contain amounts of calcium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, vitamin B, vitamin A, vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), vitamin K (phylloquinone), glucose, fructose, proteins, carbs, lipids and fibers.
Black raspberries are a tasty and versatile fruit, rich in benefits. You can eat them directly or make tasty jams, purees or put them in salads. Having black raspberries will keep you healthy and fit naturally.