Enjoying blackberries an easier way

Remember picking blackberries as a kid?

Trying to keep from being stuck by the thorny bushes, watching out for snakes, wasps and other unwelcome critters, and baking under the summer sun? Your sweet reward — a big bowl of plump, purplish-blackberries sprinkled with sugar and swimming in milk or cream — was worth the effort.

Now, you can walk into many grocery stores’ produce departments and see displays of delicious summer berries, including blackberries.

The childhood favorite is cultivated across the United States and available into September. Look for deep-colored berries without hulls. Fresh berries are best if used right away, but can be refrigerated for up to two days.

“You don’t have to wait for dessert to get the fresh taste of berries,” says the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission. Add berries to salads, such as this refreshing and easy-to-prepare, main-dish Tuscan Quinoa Salad. The commission also offers a twist on the classic shortcake dessert. Try Blackberry Almond Shortcake, which is loaded with juicy blackberries and topped with the crunch of almonds.

Both recipes work with either fresh or frozen berries.