Berries are one of the world most eaten fruits. The commonly stocked berries in the store are blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. However, there are more varieties found in the wild.
Wild berries can survive in different climates. They are loaded with beneficial nutrients and powerful plant compounds. They come in different sizes, colors, taste, and scent. They are usually tart, but can be used for different purposes. Wild berries can also be enjoyed in a number of ways. However, there are some wild berries which are toxic and if eaten in large amounts, can be fatal. They include holly berries, Jerusalem cherries, yew berries, ivy berries, among others. This article discusses some healthy and tasty berries you can find in the wild.
Elderberries are of the species Sambucus. They are largely found in the Northern Hemisphere, especially subtropical areas. Elderberries mature in small clusters and are purple, bluish-black, or black when ripe. The Sambucus are of various species and most of them are edible. However, the type that is consumed mostly is the Sambucus nigra L. ssp. Mature elderberries are not eaten raw as they contain alkaloid compounds that can cause nausea. For this reason, they are first cooked to inactivate these compounds. The cooking is meant to reduce their tart tangy taste. These small fruits are often used make elderberry wine, jams, chutneys, and juices. They are loaded with vitamin C, with 145 grams of elderberries providing up to 58 percent of the daily vitamin C need. These fruits are also a good storehouse of vitamin B6, which together with vitamin C, are needed for a strong immune system.
Just like elderberries, cloudberries are also found in the Northern Hemisphere but typically thrive in the cool boggy regions. They are picked from a plant called Rubus chamaemorus. The plant itself has white flowers, and produce fruits which when ripe turn to yellowish orange and resemble raspberry. Fresh cloudberries are sort of soft with a taste that cuts across red currants and raspberries. Unlike elderberries, cloudberries do not need any preparation to eat. They can just be enjoyed raw. They are loaded in vitamin C, with 100 grams providing up to 176 percent of your daily needs. They also contain powerful plant compounds such as ellagitannins, which can help neutralize the effects of free radicals. Furthermore, studies on animals and in test-tubes suggests that ellagitannins may strengthen your immune system, reduce inflammation, and possesses anticancer properties.
Chokeberries are a type of berries that is found in the eastern regions of North America. They specifically thrive in wet woods and swamps. Chokeberries can be found in three species – purple chokeberry, red chokeberry, and black chokeberry. They are tarty and are safe eaten raw and fresh. Most commonly, chokeberries are used to make jams, ice cream, teas, juices, and chokeberry wines. This fruit is high in vitamin K, a type of fat-soluble vitamin that is needed for healthy bones and supports other bodily functions, such as formation of clot. Chokeberries are also loaded in powerful antioxidants like proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, phenolic acids, and flavonols.
Huckleberry is a fruit that native to the North America. It is a term used to refer to different fruits in the species of Vaccinium and Gaylussacia genera. Huckleberries can do well in different places, including bogs, forests, elevated regions, and lake basins in Western Canada and Northwestern America. When ripe, huckleberries are semi sweet, yet fairly tart. They can be enjoyed fresh or used to make puddings, jams, syrups, beverages, and candies. Huckleberries are particularly high in anthocyanins and polyphenols. They contain more of these antioxidants than blueberries and other fruits rich in these compounds. Including anthocyanins and polyphenols may help reduce inflammation, fight cancer, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Mulberries are of the species Morus, which are flowering plants in the Moraceae family. They are commonly found in the subtropical areas of Northern and Southern Hemispheres. They grow in clusters and the word “mul” in their name is used to refer multiple. Mature mulberries are about 2 to 3 centimeters and have varied colors when ripe ranging from dark purple to black or red to white. These sweet juicy fruits can be enjoyed fresh or used to make herbal teas, pies, and cordials. Nutritionally, mulberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. They also contain decent amounts of B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. Mulberries are also high iron, with 140 grams providing up to 14 percent of your daily needs. Loaded with anthocyanins, mulberries can lower the levels of sugar in the blood, support weight loss, improve brain health, and possesses anticancer effects.
There are two species of gooseberries – American gooseberries (Ribes hirtellum) and European gooseberries (Ribes grossularia var. uva-crispa). The fruits are picked from a bush that grows up to 6 feet high. They thrive in the soils Asia, Europe, and North America. The berries are usually small, round, and are red or purple in color when ripe. The fruits can either be tart or sweet depending the ripeness. They can be enjoyed fresh or used to prepare wines, syrups, pies, and jams. They are particularly high in vitamin C, with 150 grams providing up to 46 percent of your daily needs, and 6.5 g of fiber which accounts for up to 26 percent of daily value. Dietary fiber has several health benefits, including prevention of constipation. They also contain powerful antioxidants protocatechuic acid – a plant compound that has antibacterial, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Salmonberries mature on the plant Rubus spectabilis of the rose family. The plant thrives in North America and grows up to 13 feet, doing well only in the shorelines and moist coastal forests. Ripe salmonberries are orange to red in color and can be enjoyed raw or can be used as an ingredient to make jelly, candy, and jam. Salmonberries are high in manganese, a nutrient that is needed for bone health and possesses antioxidant properties.
Berries are a healthy fruit and they provide number of beneficial nutrients, including vitamin C, manganese, iron, and powerful antioxidants. Wild berries you can comfortably eat are elderberries, gooseberries, salmonberries, and chokeberries.