“If you swallow a seed, you will grow a plant in your stomach”. Every kid has heard this old wives’ tale at some point in their childhood. While this is clearly a myth, there are some fruit seeds that can be quite dangerous to consume. This leads many to question if you can eat blackberry seeds and what will happen if you do? We have the seedy details!
To truly benefit from eating blackberries, it is important to also eat the seeds. Not only are they safe for consumption, but they are also brimming with health benefits including anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. They also contain a substantial amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which is a nice substitute for those who are not fans of fish!
Best of all, you can add this fruit to parfaits, salads, smoothies or even on top of ice cream! Lastly, for those looking for an extra boost from this sweet superfood, consider adding blackberry seed oil or blackberry seed flour to your recipes!
Poisonous Fruit Seeds
Apples, cherries, peaches, plums and apricots are all deliciously sweet treats. However, as Snow White can tell you, it is important to watch what you eat. Unfortunately, these fruits have seeds that “contain amygdalin, an organic cyanide and sugar compound that degrades into hydrogen cyanide (HCN) when metabolized.
Cyanide itself is a poison that kills by denying blood the ability to carry oxygen and thereby causes its victims to die. […] Apple seeds also have a tough protective coating [that] seals the amygdalin inside, unless the seeds are crushed, chewed or otherwise ground up.”
While it would take a lot of these little seeds to bring death to those eating this forbidden fruit, it can have detrimental health impacts including dizziness, confusion, headaches and elevated blood pressure. Moreover, the younger population is much more susceptible due to their lower body weight.
Thankfully, blackberry seeds do not land on this “do not eat” list. In fact, their seeds can have tremendous health benefits!
Health Benefits Of Blackberries
Blackberries are one of the top superfoods on the market! The Berry Health Benefits Network notes that “with their dark blue color, blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of fruits regularly tested. Blackberries are also rich in Vitamin C and [dietary] fiber, which have been shown to help reduce the risks of certain cancers.
Blackberries are low in calories, carbohydrates and have no fat, which makes them popular in low carb and low calorie diets. [Additionally,] evergreen blackberries contain ellagic acid, a phenolic compound shown to have anti-carcinogen, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.”
Furthermore, vitamin K, Vitamin A, folic acid, and the essential mineral, manganese are all present in this fruit. Surprisingly, many of these fantastic attributes come from those tiny little seeds. The BBC further states that “each berry, when ripe, is made up of 20-50 single seeds known as drupelets that are small, juice-filled and a deep purplish black color. Technically, they are an ‘aggregate fruit’ rather than a berry.”
Therefore, just like with a strawberry, you can eat this fruit whole with no worry about the blackberry seeds having a detrimental effect on your health! Moreover, “blackberry seeds are used to produce the seed oil, and the blackberry seed flour is a by‐product from oil processing.” These products are used in cooking and for topical use.
Health Benefits Of Blackberry Seed Flour
The Journal Food Science & Nutrition published a study that found “the blackberry seed flour extract showed capacities for anti‐inflammation and antiproliferation [— the ability to inhibit the growth of dangerous cells like tumors]. Furthermore, as mentioned above, blackberry seeds contain polyphenolic compounds. “The presence of ellagitannins and ellagic acid in blackberry seed flour and their potential health‐beneficial properties suggest the potential value‐added utilization of blackberry seed flour in enhancing human health.”
How is this accomplished? You can eat a copious number of blackberries OR you can buy blackberry seed flour and add it to your food. Many local health stores and online distributors offer defatted, natural fruit seed powders for a very affordable cost. Botanic Innovations mentions that their “Blackberry Seed Powder is well-suited for functional foods, supplements, protein blends, and animal foods.”
Health Benefits Of Blackberry Seed Oil
We are all familiar with the extreme benefits of coconut, argan, almond and jojoba oils. They hydrate and soften the skin, while giving users a radiant and luminous glow. Blackberry seed oil is no different.
“[Blackberry seed] oils are particularly rich in essential fatty acids…and antioxidants. They are incorporated in cosmetic preparations such as hand and body creams, and shampoos.” Moreover, this supplement is a fantastic source for Vitamin C and E, which further benefits your skin. This can help to improve damaged skin and reduce the instance of fine lines and wrinkles by enhancing the elasticity of the dermis.
Moreover, it is also rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. This is due to the prevalence of Linolenic acid, which came in at 17.53%. Phytosterol contents were also high in blackberries. All of these compounds can have an amazing impact on a consumer’s heart health.
Again, the oil from blackberry seeds can be utilized as a dietary ingredient that you eat in both human and pet food (yes, dogs can eat blackberries!). It can also be used as a supplement for personal care.
Safe Blackberry Consumption And Storage
Wash Your Fruit
This deliciously sweet snack is a spectacular option to have lying around the house. However, it is imperative that you take the time to thoroughly wash the fruit prior to consumption. Fruits are prone to dangerous bacteria lingering on their surfaces. This is especially true with blackberries that have many little crevices for unwanted germs to lurk.
Thankfully, researchers have found that by simply washing your produce, you can cut the prevalence of bacteria down by 99%! It can also eliminate the instance of bugs that may be hiding in plain sight.
Salt Your Blackberries
In case you didn’t know, the many little grooves in that juicy blackberry may be housing some tiny white worms. GROSS, WE KNOW. These worms will transform into fruit flies, if you allow them to mature. Thankfully, as disgusting as it may be, they are safe to consume. However, there are simple steps for removing this unwanted protein source.
First, make sure that you look for blackberries that are not fully ripe. Next, thoroughly rinse your fruit. Then, fill a bowl with ice water and add a little salt. Let the blackberries soak for at least ten minutes. Rinse again and then store them in the fridge.
PlantVillage, a research and development unit of Penn State University, has “found that cold storage is quite effective for halting development and/or killing young larvae in berries.”
Practice Proper Storage
The United States Food & Drug Administration advises that consumers “store perishable fresh fruits and vegetables (like strawberries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms) in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F or below.” However, blackberries ripen quickly, so consider freezing fruits like berries that you do not intend to use immediately. This can extend their shelf life to up to a year!
When To Not Eat Blackberries And Blackberry Seeds
Blackberries are a tremendous source of fiber — offering 8 grams in just one cup! While fiber is an exceptionally important part of our regular diet, some people need to limit it for health reasons. According to experts at the University of Michigan Health, “a low-fiber diet is often needed after bowel surgery or when you have a flare-up of a bowel problem.
You might be asked to follow this diet if you have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, or another condition that can cause swelling, pain, or narrowing of your bowels.”
The Mayo Clinic further notes that “fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables and grains not digested by your body. A low-fiber diet restricts these foods.” Unfortunately, the body tends to struggle with the skin and seeds of berries. Therefore, do not include them in your diet when the doctor recommends a limited fiber intake.
Additionally, while the sugar content of fresh blackberries tends to be low, canned blackberries and other preserved varieties that utilize a sugar or syrup coating are extremely high is sugar. This can be a problem for those with diabetes, so always make sure to read the label carefully before consumption.
Blackberry seeds are safe when you eat the whole fruit or their extracts. Blackberry seed oil and flour are also beneficial supplements to your diet. Remember to always speak with your physician prior to using any natural treatment to avoid interactions with prescribed medications.
They can also recommend an appropriate dosage. Furthermore, always conduct a skin-allergy spot test when using any type of product topically.
Lastly, while blackberry seeds are extremely healthy, when making jams and fruit leathers, the texture can be less than appealing. Thankfully, you can easily remove the seeds in three simple steps. First, soak them in a sugar and cool water overnight in the fridge. Second, cook them over medium heat until soft. Lastly, push the berries through a mesh strainer over a bowl. Viola!
Heidi is a wife, mother, Newfie owner, writer and Meteorologist. She was born and raised in Texas and has worked in the broadcast industry for over a decade.