Plump and elongated in shape, blackberries are sweetest when completely black. Raspberries are typically tart in flavor and scarlet in color, though some varieties produce golden fruit. Both appear at farmers’ markets from late spring to early autumn and taste their best during the height of summer.
Raspberries and blackberries can be substituted for one another or combined in recipes. Enjoy them on their own or sprinkle over ice cream or fruit salads. The berries are also delicious baked into pies or transformed into jams.
Look for berries that are shiny, bright and plump. Check the bottom of the container for fruit that is bruised, wet or moldy; don’t buy those.
Handle these fragile berries with care and use them as soon after purchasing as possible. If needed, refrigerate blackberries and raspberries in single layers on paper towels in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
Avoid washing the berries until just before use, as the excess moisture will encourage the growth of mold. To bring out their juices and sweeten their flavor, sprinkle the berries with a little sugar (about 1 Tbs. for every pint), and let stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers’ Market, by Tasha DeSerio & Jodi Liano (Weldon Owen, 2010).