It is amazing to me that plants that are the most annoying and intrusive are the healthiest. One of the most tenacious is the blackberry, or commonly known as the bramble bush. Blackberries are an autumn fruit and if not harvested begin to decay in mid October. Mythmakers attributed this decay to the Devil who is said to have appeared on Old Michaelmas, or St. Michael’s day, October 10th and cursed the plant. St. Michael was an archangel an archetype of Christ and it was on this day St. Michael defeated the forces of evil and banished the devil from heaven. According to legend, when the devil fell from heaven he landed in the bramble bush. This explains why the devil hates blackberries returning each year to spit or urinate on them causing them to die. The legend also warns that those who eat of this bush past this date will suffer disastrous consequences within a year’s time.
In parts of Great Britain it is believed that witches cause the blackberry to whither.
Most traditions about blackberries are of ill omen, blackberries were considered fairy food and it was believed that anyone who ate them might well be doomed to remain in the fairy realm forever. Just touching this fruit would bring bad luck. These and similar legends were common to autumn as an explanation of the coming winter darkness and the long cold and baron land.
A recent study from the University of Oslo printed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition identified blackberries as containing the most antioxidants per serving of any of 1500 foods tested. In a study published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that a compound in fresh blackberries arrested the development of skin tumors, reduced the growth of lung cancer cells and inhibited their spread to other organs. More research is occurring at universities around the world to identify the mechanisms at work that give blackberries their nutraceutical edge.
It’s not surprising that blackberries are receiving recognition as the most healthful of all berries. Like the other members of the berry patch, blackberries are natural health foods long known for their medicinal values. Legend also tells us that if we pick these magical berries by the light of the full moon we will be protected from evil spells.
My favorite recipe for blackberries is cobbler.
Fresh blackberry cobbler
* 1/2 cup butter
* 2 cups self-rising flour
* 2 cups white sugar
* 2 cups milk
* 3 1/2 cups blackberries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Once oven temperature is reached melt butter in a 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, sugar and milk; batter will be slightly lumpy. Pour mixture on top of melted butter in baking pan. Do not mix butter and mixture together.
3. Drop blackberries into batter; if more crust is desired add less blackberries. Bake in preheated oven for one hour or until golden brown.