The Benefits of Berries and Agro-Processing Part 3

The Benefits of Berries and Agro-Processing Part 3

Berries are among the healthiest foods you can eat and is considered as top sources of potassium, magnesium, vitamins C and K, fibre, prebiotics carbohydrates, anthocyanins, disease-fighting nutrients, and minerals. They may also assist in reducing the risk of many age-related conditions.

Frozen berries have the same health benefits as the fresh product. In the third article in this series on the agro processing of berry crops, the spotlight falls on blackberries, Cape gooseberries and cherries.



Blackberries are best suited to processing into frozen or canned products. The seeds in the blackberries cause problems during processing and are not easily removed and for these reasons, it is not viable to produce juice from blackberries.

Frozen blackberries: Fresh blackberries are frozen in the container (straight pack), with or without the addition of sugar. Unsweetened frozen blackberries are used in the preparation of wine and bakery fillings while the sweetened product is used as a base ingredient for making pie toppings, syrup fillings, soups, and yoghurt flavouring. In-container freezing does not allow for rapid freezing as in the case of individually quick frozen (IQF) products. Slow freezing does not preserve the shape and individual identity of whole berries. The product has considerable drip loss upon thawing.

Individual quick frozen (IQF) blackberries: Fresh blackberries are individually quick frozen (IQF) to produce a product that maintains its individual identity and gives the perception of “fresh fruit”. This makes it ideal for inclusion into muffins and other bakery products as well as fillings. Frozen blackberries can also be incorporated into a mixture of other IQF berries. The IQF method is best for the preservation of the cell structure, texture, colour, flavour, and aroma of the berries.
Canned blackberries are prepared from fresh berries. The blackberries may either be packed in water or sugar syrup. The water packed product can be used as fruit fillings and toppings. The sugar syrup packed blackberries can be used as dessert fruit.

Cape gooseberries:

The Cape gooseberry is best adapted to areas with no frost and temperatures below 30°C. The berries are enclosed in a straw-coloured husk and take 70 – 80 days to mature. The berry is smooth, waxy, with an orange-yellow skin and juice pulp with small yellowish seeds. The fruits are ideally suited to canning for use in desserts and baking products. The Cape gooseberry may also be dried.

Dried Cape gooseberries have an intense fruit flavour and can be incorporated into dry baking mixes or other confectionery products.
Canned cape gooseberries may be canned in water or sugar syrup. The water packed gooseberries are used as Danish and fruit pie fillings and toppings. The sugar syrup packed berries can be used as dessert fruit.


Most cultivated cherries are bright red when ripe, but a distinction is made between sweet cherries and sour cherries.

Sweet cherries are commonly sold fresh or canned and grow in areas of mild weather. Most sweet-cherry trees must be cross-pollinated with other varieties to bear fruit abundantly. This type of cherry can be further divided into two distinctive groups based on fruit characteristics: Heart-type cherries which are heart shaped with relatively soft flesh, early ripening; and secondly Bigarreau type which are firmer, crisp-fleshed fruit, mid- to late season ripening. Fruit flesh colour range from red to yellow and the skin colour range from dark red (nearly black) or light (yellow white).

Sour cherries are commonly processed for pie filling, jams, and jellies. Sour cherries trees are generally hardier compared to sweet cherries and are self-fertile. Sour cherries are soft, juicy and have an oval shape, with flesh and juice colours ranging from dark red to almost colourless.

Some processing options available for cherries include:

Canned Maraschino cherries are sweet cherries that have been preserved in almond-flavoured syrup. Maraschino cherries are used in cocktails and derive their name from the Italian (Dalmatian) sweet-sour liqueur originally prepared for bitter cherries.
Canned sour cherries: Sour cherries are canned in water or sugar syrup and used for pie fillings.

Canned sweet cherries: Sweet cherries are canned in water or sugar syrup and used as dessert fruit or in baked products.The full article is for subscribed members only. To view the full article please subscribe. It’s FREE!Log In Register

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