Ever since our ancestors began foraging for food, berries have been included in the human diet. For most of history, berries were eaten fresh, dried, or fermented. Fresh berries are somewhat fragile and do not last long without preservation, leading to the popularity of fermentation. Pots and jars with grape residue found in western Iran, dated to 5000 BCE, are the oldest evidence of winemaking.

When sugar became widely available, jams, preserves, and jellies became common methods of preserving berries. Today, they are widely available fresh, in juices and purees, canned, and in wine. They’ve been an enduring favorite in desserts such as pies.

A berry is a fruit with multiple seeds embedded in a juicy, large ovary that has ripened into flesh. Under this strict botanical definition, blueberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, tomatoes, persimmons, and grapes are berries. Many of the fruits we consider to be berries, such as blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries, are not true botanical berries. However, most people consider a berry to be any small, fleshy fruit with multiple seeds. Most discussion of berries follows this culinary definition, rather than the botanical definition.

Most edible berries are very nutritious. Depending on the species, they may contain substantial levels of vitamins A, C, and some B vitamins. They may also be good sources of dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, and a variety of antioxidants.

Though many species of berry are edible, many are poisonous – knowledge which our ancestors developed through unfortunate trial and error. Some common poisonous berries include American bittersweet, holly, juniper, jasmine, mistletoe, daphne, red sage (lantana camera), pokeweed, and yew.

As long as civilization persists, berries will be a favorite fruit source. Modern advances in preservation have made fresh berries available to many people year round, allowing for more widespread enjoyment beyond the harvest season.

Berries List –

Goji Berry

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