Did you know that banana is a berry?
So are tomatoes, eggplants, watermelons, persimmons, oranges and pumpkins.
Botanically speaking, a berry is a fleshy fruit with seeds which is developed from the ovary of a single flower. But, not all of them are fleshy. Some of them have air pockets instead of pulp. A commonly seen pulp-less berry is peppers. Yes. Capsicum is a berry too.
At the same time, a lot of fruits commonly called berries aren’t actually berries but aggregate fruits. Popular ones such as blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries fall under this category. They are developed from multiple ovaries of a single flower.
However, we are accustomed to thinking of all round, brightly coloured fruits as berries. The bright colour helps them to stand out and make them visible to animals which in turn increases the reach of the seeds that are meant for reproduction.
All of these berries come with tons of health benefits too. Supposedly, the very same pigments that contribute to the bright colour possess great antioxidant properties. No matter whether they are true berries or common berries, we have got them all in the basket. Here are 18 popular berries with amazing health benefits.
Blueberries are known as the gourmet superfood that is bursting with antioxidants. These tiny fruits are green when they appear and turns bluish purple as they ripen. One cup of blueberries contains 24% vitamin C, 36% vitamin K, and 25% manganese.
These true berries are rich in flavonoids which significantly reduces the risk of cancer, heart risks, asthma, and stroke. They fight free radicals which can affect cognitive functions as well. Adding them to breakfast is an excellent idea as they are delicious too.
How to preserve blueberries?
Fresh blueberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Making a blueberry vinegar will preserve it for up to a year.
These extravagant-looking black fruits are a group that spans over 375 species. Even though they are not true berries, blackberries are one of the most popular ones in the lot. They are known for boosting brain power. Blackberry seeds are a must-have in the diet of vegans and vegetarians as it contains omega-3 and omega-6. Like many fruits with dark colours, blackberries are rich in antioxidants as well.
How to preserve blackberries?
Freezing the pureed blackberries or freezing a jam made of it will preserve it for 3-4 days and they can be used in desserts. But, dehydrating is the best way to store these berries as they will last for up to a year.
These ruby-like coloured fruits have a pretty good reason to earn its spot on the dining table. They have one of the highest ORAC value among all fruits. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a method of measuring antioxidant content of various food items. They have the power to boost fertility and sexual wellness. It is highly recommended in the diet of pregnant women as the antioxidants in raspberries can protect embryo and lower the risk of miscarriage.
How to preserve red raspberries?
Making a jam and storing it in the fridge will preserve it for up to three months.
There are over 200 varieties of raspberries around the world, and most popular ones are red and black. They have similar health benefits. But, the black ones are especially known for boosting immunity. They contain beta carotene in abundance. They also possess anti-inflammatory properties due to the anthocyanins in it.
How to preserve black raspberries?
Similar to red raspberries, black ones can be stored as jam. But, making a raspberry vinegar will preserve it for more than a year.
Boysenberry is a comparatively large aggregate fruit that appears in deep maroon colour. It is a cross between European raspberry, European blackberry, American dewberry, and loganberry. They are a rich source of folate which promotes neural tube formation and RBC formation in the foetus. Vitamin K is also found in abundance in boysenberries which plays an essential role in retaining calcium in bones. Regular consumption of these fruits will boost bone strength.
How to preserve boysenberries?
They start leaking juice as soon as they ripen and start decay within 2-3 days. Freezing them can prolong the decaying, but it is recommended to use it soon.
The pigments in leaves and fruits of Aronia berries, popularly known as chokeberries are strong enough to protect the plant from UV rays of the sun. Native to Eastern North America, chokeberries have two natural varieties - red and black. The third variety which has a deep purple colour is a natural hybrid of the other two.
The purple chokeberries contain 664 mg proanthocyanidin per 100 g which is the highest concentration measured in all plants. They are capable of protecting the cardiovascular system and preventing breast cancer.
How to preserve Aronia Berries?
They are preserved as wine, jam, syrup, juice, tea, extracts, beer, ice cream, and soft spreads.
These amber coloured aggregate fruits are commonly seen in the woods. They start off with a pale red colour and turn amber shade at the beginning of autumn. These wild berries were once heavily exploited in Europe. They are considered endangered and is under legal protection in certain parts.
The abundance of vitamin C and vitamin A improves immunity and blood circulation. While vitamin C enhances the production of WBC, iron content ensures that RBC count is never low.
How to preserve cloudberries?
They are grown in the wild lands of Nordic countries. They are often preserved as jams, syrups, and liqueurs.
Cranberries are popularly associated with American holidays. The Thanksgiving turkey is never served without cranberry sauce as its tartness compliments savoury dishes. This North American berry is a low-calorie superfood. They are known for their nutrient richness and high antioxidant content. Cranberries have been used by native Americans since centuries to treat urinary tract infections and kidney diseases. Proanthocyanidins, an antioxidant found in cranberries in abundance prevents bacteria from latching on to the urinary tract walls.
How to preserve cranberries?
Cranberries are one of the easiest ones to store. Fresh ones can be simply frozen at home for up to nine months.
This is a wild one that you have to careful with. They will grow anywhere if sunlight and nitrogen are available. These deep blue coloured berries are packed with antioxidants and are excellent in driving away flu symptoms. They have the ability to protect skin from harsh UV rays of the sun. But, if you eat them raw, they are poisonous as they contain a glycoside which induced cyanide buildup in the body. Eating raw elderberries will eventually make you sick and can cause stomach problems.
How to preserve elderberries?
Freezing fresh elderberries will preserve them for up to six months. But be sure to remove stems and leaves from the bunch as they are toxic. Freezing the berries for a while before de-stemming will ensure that they are not smushed.
Goji berries are the Asian superfoods that took the western part of the world by storm at the beginning of the 21st century. They have been part of ancient Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese healing methods. These small berries that appear in a unique shade of red contain eight essential amino acids. As they have low sugar content, adding them in daily diet will help in weight loss. Zeaxanthin, the antioxidant that contributes to the bright colour protects the cells from radiation too.
How to preserve goji berries?
Keeping dried goji berries in an airtight container in a cool dark place will preserve them for up to a year.
Gooseberries are not to be confused with Indian gooseberries aka Amla. These gooseberries are native to Northern Africa and belong to the same genus as currants. They are seasonal to summer and is a rich source of vitamin C and vitamin A. Vitamin C protects the DNA from all damages. Regular consumption of gooseberries will reduce hypertension as well. The abundance of dietary fibre ensures that the risk of haemorrhoids and colon cancer also stays away.
How to preserve gooseberries?
They are preserved as gams or dried fruits most of the time. However, storing the berries in sugar syrup also works.
Huckleberries are often seen in black or deep blue colour. As the colour suggests, they contain plenty of iron and can ward off anaemia. The high vitamin C content can boost collagen production as well. This is a catch because it is the very protein that keeps your skin soft and free of wrinkles. They also help in keeping the blood vessels in good shape which prevents varicose vein.
How to preserve huckleberries?
The best way to preserve huckleberries is to immerse them in sugar syrup and freeze. They will stay up to 10 or 12 months.
Lingonberries are the small red fruits from Scandinavia which has anti-obesity effects. The regular consumption of these berries will help the development of gut microbiota which is key to the entire health of the human body. This can eventually contribute to weight loss as well. Lingonberries can curb inflammation as well which can increase the risk of dementia, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases.
How to preserve lingonberries?
Lingonberries can be frozen for up to 12 weeks without any trouble. But, lingonberry jam can be made without using any other ingredient. Sweden is famous for making sugar-free lingonberry jams. It is the high content of benzoic acid that preserves the jam.
Loganberry is a cross breed of blackberries and red berries which was accidentally created by American horticulturist, James Harvey Logan. The dark red coloured fruits can be eaten fresh. Along with being nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants, loganberries have gallic acid, ellagic acid, and rutin in high concentration. These acids have antibacterial and antiviral properties. They are known for stopping the growth of cancerous cells.
How to preserve loganberries?
Frozen loganberries will stay in the refrigerator comfortably for up to a year. Their sharp taste makes them suitable for making jams too.
Salmonberry belongs to rose family, and are bright pink or orange hued berries, which are known for their superpowers such as being cholesterol free and not containing any saturated fats. The barks and roots of salmonberry shrubs are used for medicinal purposes. A decoction made of roots is excellent in curbing labour pain. But the fruits aren’t recommended in the diet during pregnancy.
How to preserve salmonberries?
Salmonberries can be frozen and can last up to two years.
These sweet fruits which make perfect additions in granola bars and smoothies. This native American berry is an antioxidant powerhouse. These tiny mulberries have earned their spot rightfully as they contain more Vitamin C than oranges. They are rich in iron, protein, and calcium too. Adding them to your diet is an easy way to increase fibre intake.
How to preserve red mulberries?
Red mulberries should be spread in a single layer before freezing them. But, they will not stay for more than three days.
Contrary to popular belief, strawberries are not true berries but aggregate fruits. But, they are probably the most widely seen common berries. With its bright red colour and juiciness, it is definitely a favourite. It is a rich source of manganese and vitamin C. They have antimicrobial properties that can defend the human body against harmful germs.
How to preserve strawberries?
Frozen strawberries will stay comfortably in the fridge for a week.
Tayberry is another cross breed between blackberries and red raspberries. But, they are larger and sweeter than loganberries. Tayberries outshine loganberries in case of aroma too. They have reddish purple colour after maturing. It is an excellent source of vitamin C which can decrease cholesterol, speed up the healing process of wounds, and prevent infections. Being a rich source of folate, adding it to the diet of pregnant women would be a great idea.
How to preserve tayberries?
Even though they can be frozen, making wine or jam will preserve them for a longer period.