Black Raspberries, affectionately known as “Blackcaps” by growers, are native to North America. These uniquely flavored berries are popular in specialty foods, especially jams and ice cream. The fruit is blue-black, round and small, and there’s a whitish bloom on the exterior of the berry. Black raspberries have a distinct and moderately tart flavor, small seed and like the red raspberry, contain a hollow core.
- Fresh season typically July 1st through July 31st
- Extremely dark pigment allows black raspberries to be used as a coloring agent. The USDA stamp on meat was made with black raspberry dye for many years.
- Common Names: Black raspberry, Blackcap, Framboisier de Virginie [French], Schwarze Himbeere [German], Frambueso negro [Spanish]
- The king of berries in terms of health benefits.
- Have extremely high overall level of phenolic compounds compared to other berries. Phenolic compounds such as ellagic acid, gallic acid and rutin contribute to the healthful benefits of black raspberries.
- Contain high levels of anthocyanins, which give black raspberries their rich, dark color. Anthocyanins work as antioxidants to help fight free radical damage in the body.
- Antioxidant levels of foods are sometimes measured as ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity). The ORAC level of black raspberries is 77 μmoles/TE/g, about three times higher than blueberries, a very powerful antioxidant.
- Rich in ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a phenolic compound known to help fight cancer, viruses and bacteria.
- University studies are underway to determine black raspberries’ ability to slow the growth of certain cancers. In vitro studies have shown that extracts of raspberries and blackberries may slow the growth of breast, cervical, colon and esophageal cancers.
- Studies at Ohio State University showed a 60–80 % reduction in colon tumors in rats fed a diet with black raspberries added.
- Studies at Ohio State University showed an 80% reduction in esophageal cancers in mice fed a 5-10% diet of black raspberries
- Scientists from Ohio State are now conducting human clinical trials into the effects of black raspberries on colon and esophageal cancer in humans.