A fruit between two thorns
The blackberry is an edible fruit that grows on thorny perennial plants from the genus Rubus. The plant is a member of the rose (Rosaceae) family. Unlike its raspberry relative, which grows on canes, blackberries can be found in sprawling hedgerows and are often referred to as bramble, a word meaning impenetrable thicket.
Another distinguishing feature of the blackberry, in comparison to the paler, pinker raspberry, is that it retains its core – or torus – when picked. This core contributes to the woodier, more earthy taste of this widely-used fruit. Along with the seeds, the core also adds a slightly tart undertone. What’s more, the blackberry’s complex flavour profile contains floral hints, unsurprisingly given its link to the rose family.
Grown across Asia, Europe and the Americas, the blackberry is known to sweeten as it ripens. However, it can retain its sharper taste if rainfall is lower than usual and, by contrast, can develop a diluted, weaker flavour as a result of excessive rain.
Functional properties and the beverage market
Using blackberries to make wines and cordials is documented as far back as 1696 in the London Pharmacopoeia (a book containing directions for the identification of medicines). Equally, blackberries have a long history as an ingredient in pies, jellies and jam.
Blackberry plants as a whole have been used since Ancient Greek times for their supposed medicinal qualities. While the fruit itself is recognised as containing dietary fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K nutrients. The blackberry’s association with health and wellness continues today; its darker colour contributing to this perception. Indeed, it is a key reason for its increasing traction among beverage manufacturers.
The growing flavoured waters and hard seltzer market, particularly among health and fitness consumers, is seeing the blackberry find a solid footing. Typically mixed in with sweeter berries, the blackberry is beginning to be seen as a standalone ingredient as the market seeks more sophisticated flavours that align with low/no sugar requirements. The tart, woody taste of blackberry is becoming synonymous with healthy beverages. While more successful in the US for now, there is also an increasing uptake of this kind of drink in the UK, no doubt driven by the health-related concerns of COVID-19.
Treatt and the blackberry Treattarome
Given its water-soluble nature, blackberries lend themselves well to the beverages market. The blackberry Treattarome can blend directly into a formulation, easily adding an injection of flavour without altering its colour.
Julie Barnes, Citrus, Fruit and Vegetables Category Manager, adds:
“With seltzers taking off and health and wellbeing becoming increasingly important for consumers, our blackberry Treattarome has grown in popularity. Like all of our Treattaromes, it is free from calories, sugar and colouring, so is ideal in clean label formulations for beverage manufacturers.”
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