All raspberries have beautiful flowers and plenty of nectar. And bees love them all. Let’s see what is blackberry honey and what is it good for. From a health perspective.
Blackberry. Or black raspberry?
Black raspberry is a common name for three species of genus Rubus:
– Rubus leucodermis, native to western North America
– Rubus occidentalis, native to eastern North America (some people associated black raspberries only with this species. Also called wild blackberries)
– Rubus coreanus, aka Korean black raspberry, native to Korea, Japan, and China
Blackberry, Rubus fruticosus, also belongs to the Rubus genus. There are lots of hybrids among subgenus and there had been a lot of confusion, which eventually lead to a simple way of gathering them all under the term “species aggregates”. Thus the entire subgenus Rubus has been called the “Rubus fruticosus aggregate”. In other words they have put all these subspecies, with hybrids and everything, under the same umbrella “Rubus fruticosus aggregate”, or even Rubus spp.
The taxonomy is too complicated and really there is no point in knowing it to enjoy blackberry honey.
The main difference between blackberries and black raspberries is in how the torus (receptacle or stem) stays with the fruit after the harvest. If after picking the fruit, the torus remains with it, then you have a blackberry.
If the torus remains on the plant and leaves a hollow core in in the fruit, it’s a raspberry.
Blackberris are also known as: Rubus spp. (Latin), Blackberry (English), Ronces (French), Rovo (Italian), Himbeere (German), Zarza / zarzamora (Spanish), Vatukka (Finnish).
It’s a perennial shrub which gives us the nutritious and delicious fruit called blackberry, like the whole shrub. It grows wild and it is considered a weed and some countries consider it an invasive species.
The flowers are produced in late spring and early summer. Each flower is about 2–3 cm in diameter with five white or pale pink petals. It has plenty nectar and pollen.
Blackberry fruits are red before they are ripe, leading to an old expression that “blackberries are red when they’re green”.
Bees are important to blackberries.
If the fruit is undeveloped it may be because of inadequate pollinator visits, or a disease caused by a specific virus.
But usually the bees are to blame. Even a small change in weather conditions, such as a rainy day or a day too hot for bees to work after early morning, can reduce the number of visits to the flower, thus reducing the quality of the fruit. But when the weather is fine, bees will devour them, as raspberries are a great favorite of them.
picture credit Ulleo via pixabay.com
Blackberries are full of nutrients and considered superfood. Vegetarians praise them a lot as one of the best fruit to be eaten. In their composition we find:
· high amounts of vitamin C,
· low levels of calories (only 43 calories per 100g serving),
· vitamins A, E, K, and B,
· important minerals such as: copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid,
· high levels of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals, such as ellagic acid, anthocyanins, tannin, gallic acid, pelargonidins, quercetin, cyanidins, kaempferol,catechins, and salicylic acid. These antioxidant compounds protect against aging, inflammation, cancer, and other neurological diseases.
· antioxidants: lutein and zeaxanthin (which scavenge free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and chronic diseases). Blackberries are considered one of the best high-ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) foods available.
Blackberry honey. Bramble Honey
Blackberry honey is made from all rubus species. Sellers do not differentiate them. Sometimes we find it as bramble honey and this tells us that it is made from wild rubus spp. and the fact that it is not cultivated makes it more organic. Honey bees love all rubus flowers and they offer them plenty of nectar and pollen.
Raspberry honey is a luscious, delicate honey with a surprising and amazing fruity finish. It has a smooth texture and it goes very well with mild soft cheeses of any kind, yogurt, fruits, you name it. It’s highly appreciated by honey eaters and chefs all around the world.
There is no difference between blackberry honey and bramble honey. The latter one is creamy, delicate and slightly acidulous on the finish.
Blackberry honey is found mostly in the mountain area, where they grow naturally. Beekeepers say all the good benefits of the fruit are to be found in the nectar, too, thus in the honey.
Color: golden with a certain transparency
Consistency: relatively thick viscous
Aroma: low flowery perfume
Sweetness: discreet, not so sweet, with a delicate taste. People say in bramble honey one can feel the whole forest sent.
– Water content: 16-17% (lower than in other types of honey)
– Carbohydrates 82.4 g
– dextrose – about 25%
– levulose – about 38% (sweet substance found in plants, like a natural sugar)
– sucrose – about 2%
– dextrose 25.94%
– maltose 11.33%
– higher sugars 2.50%
– vitamins: B2, B3, B5, B6, C (about 1%),
– minerals and trace elements: calcium (1%), iron (3%), magnesium (1%), phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc.
Main therapeutic properties:
– Respiratory diseases (colds, pharyngitis, laryngitis, hoarseness)
– cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis, varicose veins)
· Mix fresh onion juice with blackberry honey. Take 1 tablespoon 3 times per day before meals, for 3 weeks up to 2 months.
· Mix fresh chopped garlic with 1 lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of blackberry honey. Drink this mixture in the morning and in the evening, half an hour before your meal.
– stress and overwork
– menstrual disorders
– hemorrhoids and anal fissures (for local applications)
Everywhere in the world, blackberry honey is much appreciated.
In Ireland blackberry honey pollen are very common. Large amounts of pollen are collected from blackberry (Rubus sp.) and meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) giving us a delicious treat, also very appreciated for its health benefits.
In Australia more caution is required with ground flora honeys, such as clover and blackberry, as they generally have higher moisture content than some Eucalypt honeys.
Parts of New England, which are hilly and rough, are often covered with wild raspberry, and would offer food for numerous colonies of bees.
In Portugal, on the wild Atlantic coast of the Alentejo region, raspberry cultivation pollinated by honeybees are very intense. The honey harvested there is much appreciated worldwide.
In the US the largest harvest is obtained on the Coastal Pacific Northwestern shores of Washington State.
In California, blackberry honey has a fruity-floral flavor, it’s delicate and smooth, perfect for use in teas and salad dressings. They are famous for their Bloom’s California Raspberry honey.
French appreciate blackberry honey the most. France produces blackberry honey in all its 22 regions, but its bigger producer is found in the s the Rhone-AlpsAlps; the smaller one is in Corsica. Blackberry honey industry is best managed in France (though worldwide, Mexico is the leading producer of blackberries), offering a wide diversity of blackberrry honey or combinations with it.
– Blackberry honey (aka Bramble Honey) – ‘Miel de ronce’ rubus ssp.
– or Polyfloral honeys: Miel de causse (Wild thyme, common sainfoin, blackberries and clover) or Miel de Garringue (Rosemary, thyme, white clover, blackberries and lavender).
– or from the wild varieties, bramble honey. See here an example.
Sweet chestnut and blackberry honey and pollen
Oftentimes the two grow together in the forest and honey bees collect nectar and pollen from both of them. The honey and the pollen resulted a really therapeutic.
Apiland, a famous Romanian producer says the pollen of this combo can be called the guardian angel of blood circulation. Read more about the Sweet chestnut and blackberry pollen
Where can we find it?
Blackberry honey can be found online here:
• Amazon.com: Winter Park Honey Blackberry Honey 16oz
• Anna’s Honey: Blackberry Honey Beehive Bottle 16 oz
• Glory Bee: Raw Pacific Northwest Blackberry Honey 11.67 Pound Pail
Bramble honey can be found on olico.it, a pure bramble honey made not by the European honey bees but by the Sicilian Black Bee (Sicilian Apis mellifera). Worth trying it.
or in combination with other forest plants from the Galician Mountains, on Amazon.com: Toca Honey Raw Organic Mountain Honey 270g
Scientists who researched and wrote about blackberry honey:
Crane et al., 1984;
Ricciardelli D’Albore, 1985, 1998;
Maurizio andSchaper, 1994;
Persano Oddo et al.,2000;
Sáenz Laín and Gómez Ferreras, 2000;
Black raspberry picture source: http://themessybaker.com/2009/07/21/black-raspberry-shortcake/
By I, Luc Viatour, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1434374