Berries, though Small, Are a Nutritional Powerhouse

The nutrition/wellness and horticulture teams with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach continue the quickinar videos talking about berries

July 22, 2020, 2:27 pm | Ruth Litchfield, Sarah Francis, Cynthia Haynes

berries.AMES, Iowa – Cool off from the July heat with juicy raspberries and blackberries. Blackberries and raspberries are favorite perennial fruits. When selecting a blackberry, consider the newer primocane cultivars, which are hardier in Iowa weather.

There are several types of raspberries that grow well in Iowa, including red, yellow, purple and black. Different cultivars of raspberries can be harvested in summer or fall. Learn more about planting and maintaining blackberry and raspberries shrubs in the latest video from ISU Extension and Outreach.

Berries may be small but they are a nutritional powerhouse. Berries are:

  • A great source of antioxidants, which help protect your cells from damage. Antioxidants help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
  • High in fiber, with one cup providing about 3.5 grams of fiber. Consuming foods high in fiber helps provide the feeling of fullness, lower cholesterol levels and promote gut health.
  • Packed with nutrients. They are good sources of vitamin C, folate, vitamin K and manganese.
  • Beneficial for brain health. The antioxidants in berries help protect brain cells from damage and improve brain function.

Make sure to follow safe food practices with your fresh berries. Wash your hands before and after berry picking. Once the berries are picked, keep them cool. If you’re picking them at a farm that is two hours or more from your home, be sure to take a cooler with ice packs for the berries. Once home, refrigerate the berries until you’re ready to use them. Do not wash berries until you are ready to serve them. Wash berries thoroughly using cool, running water. You can preserve that fresh berry flavor for year-long enjoyment by freezing the berries or making jams and jellies. An overview of jam making can be found in this video on jam making.

Check out the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Food Preservation 101 online class and the Canning: Fruit Spreads and Canning: Fruits publication for more food preservation information. 

For those interested in learning more about gardening, contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office for information about the Master Gardener program. Training begins across the state this fall.

The Sow, Grow, Eat and Keep quickinars are 5-15 minute online lessons of seasonally appropriate topics for the garden, food preparation, and food preservation. Some of the upcoming topics include:

  • Tomatoes.
  • Peppers.
  • Salsa Making.
  • Zucchini.
  • Peppers.
  • Apples.

For additional resources and publications, visit the Sow, Grow, East and Keep web page. Send your food or garden questions to


Photo credit: Dionisvera/

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