While consumption of blackberries is in crisis in Italy, in the UK the hot, dry summer weather boosts the quality of the fruit, with 79% more British blackberries sold in supermarkets in the first week of August this year.
The warm, dry weather of the past two months has made British store-bought blackberries s this season some of the sweetest, largest and highest quality ever seen from producers.
In contrast, wild blackberries have suffered, appearing earlier and smaller than usual as a result of dry summer conditions in much of Britain.
The warm weather caused wild fruits to ripen rapidly, stunting their growth and producing blackberries smaller and less juicy than in previous years.
The difference in quality is due to the fact that store-bought blackberries have been produced to consistently produce larger, sweeter and juicier berries, while wild blackberries include about 300 subspecies that offer varying degrees of sweetness and bitterness. This means that, even in the best years, harvesting wild blackberries is a difficult task compared to the more guaranteed quality of blackberries found in supermarkets.
The new-season blackberries found on supermarket shelves have a much sweeter flavor and are typically five times larger than their wild counterparts, according to agronomists working with the industry body British Berry Growers, which accounts for 95 percent of the berries supplied to U.K. supermarkets.
SOARING CONSUMPTION OF BLACKBERRIES IN AUGUST
Due to July's high temperatures, which exceeded the long-term predicted average by 1.3 degrees Celsius, an estimated 79 percent more blackberries purchased in stores was available in the first week of August compared to the same week in 2021.
Nick Marston, president of British Berry Growers, the industry body, said, "The new season's store-bought British blackberries look amazing and taste delicious. They can be eaten and enjoyed as is, no need to limit yourself to classic pies with these beauties!
"A handful of blackberries can provide half of an adult's recommended daily intake of manganese, which is important for bone development and nutrient absorption. According to scientists, they are also rich in salicylic acid and contain astringent tannins, good for skin and oral hygiene, respectively.
"Research has also found that blackberries possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which could help wound healing."
Thanks to advances in cultivation techniques, the commercial season for British blackberries now lasts 42 weeks of the year, and last year the British purchased 2,576 tons of British blackberries , equivalent to the weight of 208 London double-decker buses.
More than 60 recipes using blackberries are available on the Love Fresh Berries website.
Fruitnet is part of the NCX Media network.