Separating Berry Fact from Berry Fiction

What distinguishes blueberries from blackberries, mulberries, and strawberries? Turns out only blueberries are true berries. Read on for more berry facts!

Here's an interesting berry fact: did you know that one of the most popular berries in the world grows on a palm tree, and isn't a berry at all? If you've read our recent article on what constitutes a true berry (at least from a botanical perspective), you'll recognize that we're talking about the famous acai.

There are many fascinating facts to be discovered about our favorite fruits; and in some cases, even some of us experts aren't aware of them. Here are a few good ones.

Trivia? Not hardly.

Some folks sneer at knowledge for its own sake, but not us. It's always best to know as much about your favorite subject as you can, because you never know what may be important... and you never know when some nitpicker may come along and start arguing with you.

Concerning the nature of strawberries, for example.

Most people don't know that strawberries don't develop from a single ovary, as true berries do. They're actually comprised of the fleshy material in between a cluster of true fruits, in this case those 200+ tiny seeds that stud a strawberry's surface. True berries have just one or a few seeds, located inside the fruit.

Viva la difference!

Ever wonder what differentiates a blackberry from a raspberry? Well, um, it's kinda complicated. (No, it's not always color; there are black raspberries). The differences between these closely related species can be subtle indeed... but here's a nifty guide on how to tell them apart.

Both varieties of these so-called "aggregate fruits" are amazingly good for you, by the way. Did you know that there are only 84 calories per six-ounce cup of blackberries? All that tart juicy goodness, and hardly any guilt. They're also high in antioxidants, Vitamins A and C, potassium, and calcium.

Some interesting berry fictions

Incidentally, you should probably be careful around strawberries. According to an ancient Egyptian myth, if you eat 300 in an hour, you'll turn into a cat. An evil cat. (Sorry, manga fans.) Back then, strawberries were tiny, about the size of your pinky nail, so the idea of eating 300 in an hour was reasonable.

Apparently, supernatural beings favor raspberries and blackberries too. Legend tells us that raspberries were first discovered by the Olympian gods when they were looking for something to feed baby Zeus--and the berries started out white, until a nymph bled on them (thorns, you know).

Oh, and you probably shouldn't pick blackberries in the UK after September 29 (Michaelmas). According to an old legend, the devil pees on them to stake his claim. Yuck.

Now, aren't you glad you read our little article about berry facts?

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