Blackberries represent summer more than any other fruit. Whether you live in the country and find yourself surrounded by the masses of prolific shrubs, or you drive to where they’re growing, abundant wild berries that taste of sun and earth beckon, even during the hottest of afternoons of summer.
While you might wander along picking berries, staining your hands and watching your children’s mouths burst in purple smiles, there’s always the question of what to do with the berries that you manage to bring home.
Have you noticed that wild mint often grows near to wild blackberries: mint, blooming with its teeny, fragrant, purple blossoms, neighbored by the protruding tendrils of blackberry canes? We like to pick the mint as the contentment of abundant berries in our bellies inspires, and amble home to make this family treat.
Eaten together, blackberries and mint are exciting and surprising, yet complimentary. Steeping the mint in fresh, raw cream and then whipping it is delicious. Cream is comfort food. Whipping it aerates the flavors, making them more accessible. So when you taste herb infused whipped cream you taste first the cream, the gentle sweetness, then you taste the herb in its mystery and charm. Mint is one of the world’s most lovable flavors, and paired with blackberries summer is indeed accentuated. You taste the port-like richness of the berries, flavors of pine and jam, tart and sweet. You taste mint, sweet and cooling.
Kids will love not only helping you to pick the berries and mint. They’ll love measuring the leaves. They’ll love pressing the berry puree through a colander to extract all the good juice from the seeds. And after a wait of several hours you’ll love sharing this very special treat together.
Blackberry Mint Popsicles
- 3 cups blackberries
- 6 tablespoons Grade A dark maple syrup
Fresh Mint Whipped Cream
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons Grade A dark maple syrup
- ½ cup fresh mint roughly chopped if leaves are large
- 1 cup heavy cream preferably raw
- Place a medium metal mixing bowl into the refrigerator to chill.
- Place the blackberries and maple syrup into a small saucepan. Heat over medium, and bring to a simmer. Cook about 4 minutes for fresh berries and 7 minutes for frozen berries, or until the berries release their juices, melting into one another. Cool 10 minutes. Puree in a blender 10 seconds.
- Pour the pureed berries through a fine-mesh stainless steel strainer, nested over a bowl. Press the berries thoroughly to extract all liquid. Discard the seeds. Set the strained puree aside to cool completely.
- Place the water, maple syrup and fresh mint into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring briefly, and then turn off the heat and allow the mint to steep in the sweetened water for 15 minutes. Pour the infused syrup through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid. Place the syrup in refrigerator to cool completely
- Using a chilled metal bowl, whip the cream about 1 minute 45 seconds, or until soft peaks form. Still beating, slowly pour in the cooled mint syrup.
- Alternate spooning the mixtures into popsicle molds (We use these stainless steel popsicle molds.) Attach popsicle sticks and popsicle mold bases. Freeze at least four hours, or until solid.
Blackberries for Vitamins and Antioxidants
Originating primarily from Europe, blackberries grow on shrubs called “brambles.” The small clusters in which each fruit grows is called a “drupelet.” The drupelets are each comprised of a single drupelet— its own petite berry with seed, skin and pectin.This is why blackberries are so high in fiber.
L up to the perception that berries are healthy, they boast not only fiber, but also high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and minerals. Perhaps most noteworthy, their antioxidant value of 5905 is near the top for fruits and berries, with a significant number of phenolic acids, powerful anticarcinogenic agents (read it here).
These phenolics have also been shown to reverse age-related cognitive degeneration, a potent motivation to grab a handful of blackberries. The same study showed improved coordination, balance and overall motor skills with regular consumption (source).
Check out all Nourished Kitchen’s Blackberry Recipes here.