Blackberries are one of the most delicious fruits that the summer brings us. Not only are they delicious to eat straight off the vine, but their bright flavor can add a bit of zing to plenty of wonderful summer meals and drinks!

Here's a few tips to grow your blackberries in plenty this summer and a few fun blackberry recipes to ripen your taste buds!

Tip 1 - Grow your blackberry branches in bundles. Did you know that blackberry plants are self-fertilizing? This means that they do not need a male plant around to fertilize them. It also means that having more than one bush by each other can enhance their growth since it allows for the bees to help pollenate them in their close proximity.

Tip 2 - First of all, before you buy any blackberry plants check your garden as blackberry plants tend to grow bountifully in the wild. However, if you are planning to buy, make sure you buy your blackberry plants from a reputable nursery as blackberry plants are often prone to developing viruses or having difficulty blooming if they are not checked for these ailments first. Also, make sure to put your plants in a very sun filled location, they love to soak up the sunny rays.

Tip 3 - Blackberries are most ripe when they are easily removed from the bush. They will be a deep blue to black color and they will be plump and feel ripe. A blackberry with a dull or soft look to it will most likely be past it's prime for eating raw, however these berries contain the most sugars and are best for making jams. Refrigerate all harvested berries, but refrain from washing them until just before eating or using.  P.S. Try this delicious recipe for Honey+Rosemary+Blackberry Jam :)

Tip 4 - Have fun with some of these wonderful plants that nature just gives us, and make a few cocktails! So, for all you Moscow Mule fans, this recipe would be perfect you you!  And for those under 21, use blackberries in your morning cereal and enjoy the benefits of their antioxidant nature.

Frederique's Choice