Health Benefits of Dewberry

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Dewberry Quick Facts
Name: Dewberry
Scientific Name: Rubus caesius
Origin Europe and Asia from Ireland and Portugal as far east as Xinjiang Province in western China
Colors Green when young turning to deep red and finally dark purple when ripe
Shapes Aggregate of several black, fleshy drupes with a bluish waxy bloom
Taste Sweet
Health benefits Prevents Cancer, Reduce High Blood Pressure, Lower Bad Cholesterol, Ward off Infections, Maintain Healthy Skin, Maintain Sharp Vision, Slow Down Skin Aging, Prevents Constipation, Keep Excess Pounds at Bay, Keep Gums and Teeth Strong
Rubus caesius is a Eurasian species of dewberry, commonly known as the European dewberry. Just like other dewberries, it is a species of flowering plant in the rose family (Rosaceae), related to the blackberry.  The plant is widely distributed across much of Europe and Asia from Ireland and Portugal as far east as Xinjiang Province in western China. It has also become economically naturalized in distributed locations in Argentina, Canada, and the United States. European dewberry, Dewberry, Common Dewberry, blue bramble and youngberry are few of the most popular common names of the plant. It is a low-growing perennial and is often heavily armed with prickles. It bears edible fruits that can be eaten raw or baked into cobblers or pies or made into preserves. They are occasionally cultivated but can spread rapidly and are considered to be weeds in many areas.

Plant description

Dewberry is a small low-growing, deciduous shrub that normally grows about 2 m (6 ft. 7 in) tall with biennial stems which die after fruiting in their second year. It sends out long runners which root at the tip to form new plants. Rubus caesius is similar to and often confused with forms of Rubus fruticosus. The plant is found growing in hedgerows, amongst shrubs, in rough dry meadow land, forest margins, copices, rocky broad leaf woods, waterside thickets, roadsides, mid-successional dunes, riverbanks, valleys, ravines, streams, inundated meadows, gardens and orchards. The plant prefers light, medium and heavy soils, slightly acidic to basic and well-drained soil. The stems are bluish-grey and sometimes prickly. Cane is 1.5 m tall and 0.5-2 m long, armed with irregular sized prickles, greenish-yellow to brown, and glabrous to glabrescent.

Leaves

The alternate leaves are hairy above and below. Petioles are 4-6 cm long, armed, and often glandular. The lanceolate stipules are 0.6-1 cm long and 0.2-0.3 cm broad, bearing hairs and marginal glands. The leaves are alternately arranged and trifoliate (rarely five). Each leaflet is thin, broadly ovate to almost round, 4-7 cm long and 3-7 cm broad, basally round, apically acute, with doubly serrate margins. Blade is somewhat pubescent, lighter green abaxially. The lateral leaflets are nearly sessile, while the terminal leaflets have a 1-2.5 cm long petiolule and are armed and glandular.

Flower

The corymbose inflorescence can be axillary or terminal and bears at least 10 flowers. The terminal inflorescences (up to 14 cm long) are longer and bear more flowers than the axillary inflorescences. The inflorescences are almost perpendicular to the floricanes. The pedicel (1-1.5 cm long) and rachis are pubescent, often glandular, and armed with very small prickles. The broadly lanceolate bracts are pubescent or glandular pubescent, 0.5-0.8 cm long and 0.1-0.2 cm broad. The perfect, white flowers are up to 6 cm across and have a 5-parted calyx and corolla. The outer surface of the calyx is pubescent, and occasionally armed with minute prickles.  Sepals are long acuminate, 0.6-0.8 cm long and 0.3-0.5 cm wide. The white corolla is glabrous, and the obovate petals are basally clawed, 0.8-2 cm long. Stamens are numerous, borne on a hypanthium, relatively shorter than the petals, but often longer than the glabrous pistils. Numerous ovaries are unilocular and bear 2 ovules, of which only one will become a seed, the styles are filiform and stigmas capitate. Flowering normally takes place from June to September.

Fruit

The fruit is a glaucous, bluish-black aggregate of few fleshy drupelets with a bluish waxy bloom.  Drupelets are covered by blue cuticula and cannot separate from their fleshy receptacles readily. The drupe is approximately 1 cm in diameter, and nearly round. The drupelets are irregular sized, and each contains one seed. Each fruit consist of not more than 20 drupelets. The single drupelet is composed of three layers: external: thin exocarp, medium: fleshy mesocarp and internal: hard endocarp. Each drupelet has one hard seed inside. The reticulate seeds are rather hard and heavy (0.37 g), and are 2.2-3.2 mm long and 1.3-2 mm wide. The seed coat is composed of three layers: exotesta, mesotesta and internal endotesta.

Health benefits of Dewberry

Dewberry has low calorie and consist of vitamins A and C, some protein, magnesium, zinc, copper. Let’s check out some of the impressive benefits offered by dewberries

1. Prevents Cancer

Including dewberries in your diet on a regular basis may help prevent cancer from striking. All of the antioxidants they contain help reduce oxidative stress, something that is often blamed for cancer development.

2. Reduce High Blood Pressure

Doctors say that the reduction of bad cholesterol can help lower the blood pressure. But since dewberries have good amounts of potassium, too, their high blood pressure-lowering properties are considerably increased.

3. Lower Bad Cholesterol

Because of the loads of antioxidants present in dewberries, regularly consuming them can help in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. As a result, the arteries can be kept from ending up clogged.

4. Ward off Infections

One of the numerous minerals present in dewberries is zinc. Since this nutrient is significant for stimulating some of the cells of your immune system, your risk of having an infection like the cold or flu can be noticeably lowered.

5. Healthy Skin

Vitamin C present in dewberries is a well-known immune-booster. Vitamin C is also respected for its capability to promote healing of wounds as well as various problems regarding the skin.

6. Cure Eye problems

Vitamin A found sufficiently in dewberries is quite beneficial for curing eye problems. Eye specialists say that this nutrient is mainly vital for keeping the vision 20/20, and also in warding off all sorts of eye diseases that can lead to loss of vision.

7. Slow Down Skin Aging

Beauty-conscious individuals who like to stay looking young forever should consume dewberries frequently. That’s due to the fact that their vitamin C content is important for the production of collagen that delays the formation of wrinkles.

8. Prevents Constipation

If you are suffering from constipation, dewberry is one of the best options for curing them. It is a wonderful idea for you to include more dewberries in your diet. Because of their fiber and water content, the removal of waste products in the colon can be facilitated.

9. Keep Excess Pounds at Bay

Since fiber in dewberries is heavy on the stomach, consuming these blackberry look-alike can help ward off cravings and hunger pangs, thus helping to make those excess pounds go away or from creeping in.

10. Keep Gums and Teeth Strong

Vitamin C found in dewberries is also necessitated by the gums for it to remain healthy. This results in much tougher teeth that are able to resist cavities. So if you want to keep your smile intact, regularly snack on dewberries.

Traditional uses and benefits of Dewberry

  • The fruits are used to increase the appetite, and for digestive and respiratory tract health.
  • Leaves and roots can be made into tea, extracts, or an infusion to treat stomach problems such as ulcers and gastritis, and kidney stones.
  • Decoction obtained from the leaves, stems, and fruits, in addition to the ailments already mentioned, can promote women’s reproductive health during menopause and to treat cystitis, diabetes, bacterial infections such as pyeritis, skin fungal infections, and hair loss.
  • Herbal remedies, including dewberry, are used for the treatment of hemorrhoid in Turkey.
  • Honey produced from Rubus caesius is very effective in healing gastric disorders.

Culinary Uses

  • Fruit can be consumed raw or cooked.
  • A delicious flavor, it is considered to be superior to blackcurrants though the fruit is rather small and consists of just a few drupes.
  • Fruit can be used for making jellies, preserves etc.
  • The fresh or dried leaves are used as a tea substitute.

Dewberry Syrup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dewberries
  • ¼ cup honey (raw, local honey is best if you have access to it)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Wash the berries in cool water, and mash them to the desired texture. Mash them lightly if you prefer some whole berries in the finished syrup, or mash them more vigorously if you prefer a smoother texture.
  2. Place berries in a saucepan on the stove, and mix in honey and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil; then reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. The syrup will thicken a bit as it cools, but if it thickens too much, you can thin it with a little more lemon juice or water.

Dewberry and Apple Puff Pastry Tarts

Ingredients

  • 275 g dewberries or blackberries
  • 250 g puff pastry
  • 1 small apple ( 85 g) preferably a sweet/tart variety, e.g. Ashmead’s Kernel
  • 25 g raw sugar (2 tbsp.) plus a little more for sprinkling
  • 1 small sprig fresh rosemary

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F (200° C).
  2. Cover a baking tray in parchment paper and place in the freezer to chill.
  3. Place a saucepan over low heat. Add the dewberries, apples, sugar, and rosemary into a saucepan, stir gently over low heat until well-softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Roll out the puff pastry until it’s fairly thin, about 8 x 8 inches (20×20 cm), and cut into squares, 16 equal 2×2 inch ( 5×5 cm) squares. Place on the chilled baking tray.
  5. Strain the juice from the fruit/sugar/rosemary mixture and set aside. Place a spoonful of the mixture in the center of each pastry square. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and flaky.
  6. While the pastry is baking, return the reserved juice to the saucepan and boil gently on the stovetop. Once the syrup is thickened and reduced by about half, set it aside to cool.
  7. Sprinkle the finished pastries with a little extra sugar, then place under a hot broiler for about 45-60 seconds (keeping a close eye on it) to crisp the pastry and caramelize the sugars a little.
  8. Spoon some of the thickened syrup over the centers of the finished pastries. Set aside to cool, and serve either warm or at room temperature.

Dewberry Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • For the pudding:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • About 10 cups sweet bread/3.5 small loaves stale is okay!
  • 8 cups dewberries
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 7 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the sauce:

  • 8 cups dewberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brandy

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish with the butter.
  2. Tear the bread by hand into large pieces and place layers into the baking dish, alternating with the berries so that they are evenly distributed.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the milk, cream, sugar, eggs, salt and cinnamon and whisk together. Pour over the bread in the baking dish and evenly distribute. Press with a spatula all over the surface so that the bread soaks up the liquid evenly.
  4. Place in the oven and cook for 75 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile make the sauce by adding the berries and sugar into a large sauce pot over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer, stirring often until the berries break down to a jam consistency. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours and in the last 30 minutes add the brandy.
  6. Serve a scoop of the bread pudding while still warm with the dewberry sauce drizzled on top. Add a scoop of your favorite ice cream as well if you please.

Lemon Dewberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups dewberries (or black-, rasp- or blueberries)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, soda, sugar, salt and lemon zest. In another bowl, whisk together butter, yogurt, lemon juice, extract, milk and egg.
  2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Stir in the berries. Tip: to prevent the berries from all sinking to the bottom of the muffins, toss them in a little bit of flour before adding them to the batter.
  3. Fill 12 lined or greased muffin cups evenly with batter.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=24898#null

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=32278

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rubus+caesius

http://www.floracatalana.net/rubus-caesius-l-

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=RUCA

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_caesius

http://climbers.lsa.umich.edu/?p=1063

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/rjp-8

http://www.catalogueoflife.org/col/details/species/id/f853bfb7538aafdd7f4b1b5d6ff02013

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/RUBCA

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261540487_Dewberry_Rubus_caesius_L_Rosaceae

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/47984

http://temperate.theferns.info/plant/Rubus+caesius

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