There are over 400 types of edible berries in the world; some are cultivated while others grow freely in the wild. Edible berries come in various forms, such as fresh, frozen, dried, and canned.
You probably enjoy eating berries for their nutritious value and their flavors. However, it is good to know the types of edible berries so you don’t end up feasting on poisonous ones.
Here, you will learn about nine types of edible berries and how you can identify edible berries from poisonous ones.
The blueberry is a flowering shrub with dark blue berries native to North America. Blueberries are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
Blueberries are also high in antioxidants, which help prevent cellular damage from free radicals that can cause cancer. Thus, blueberries can protect against aging.
Blueberries have a range of health benefits but are high in natural sugars. Blueberries can do the following for your health:
- Improve digestion
- Protect against heart disease
- Reduce blood pressure
- Help fight cancer
Lowbush blueberry plants are shorter and grow in the wild, while highbush blueberry plants grow taller and are grown commercially. Blueberries are related to cranberries, bilberries, Madeira blueberries, and huckleberries.
You can use blueberries in
Summer’s best offering, the strawberry, is a plump and gorgeous red berry that’s a good source of Vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber. This nutritional powerhouse can also be your heart’s best friend, as it contains antioxidants that may help lower blood pressure.
You can grow strawberries in almost all soils and climates as long as they get full sun exposure.
There are three varieties of strawberries:
- June-bearing strawberries are day sensitive and bear fruits in June, while those in warmer climates bear fruits earlier.
- Everbearing strawberries bear fruit in the spring, summer, and autumn.
- Day-neutral strawberries continue to bear fruit when temperatures are between 35°F and 85°F (1°C to 30°C)
Strawberries are said to be beneficial for the heart, regulate blood sugar, and are full of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.
Elderberries are dark purple fruits. They are full of antioxidants and vitamins that are immune boosters.
In addition to its myriad of uses around the world, the elderberry is often used as a medicinal herb. Its benefits have been recognized by many cultures throughout time.
Elderberries are widely used in
- Food coloring
- Body lotions
In America, you can readily find elderberries in
Elderberries are said to help in relieving constipation, headaches, fever, kidney problems, epilepsy, muscle pain, and joint pains.
Mulberries are colorful berries that you can enjoy fresh or dried. They are fast-growing and grow well in warm temperate areas such as Africa, Asia, and South America. There are three types of mulberries:
- White mulberries
- Black mulberries
- Red mulberries
Mulberries grow all around the world and are sometimes used to make jams or desserts. They contain antioxidants that can help protect your skin from sun damage. In addition, they’re used in creams to help reduce wrinkles and give skin a more youthful appearance.
Mulberries contain vitamin C, which increases collagen production, and vitamin K, which is crucial for bone tissue development and blood clotting.
Here are some benefits of mulberries:
- Helps in regulating blood sugar levels
- Helps slow aging (antioxidants in mulberries help prevent the formation of cancer cells)
- Helps aid digestion
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Regulates high blood pressure
- Fights inflammation
You can enjoy mulberries in jams, pancakes, smoothies, sauces, pancakes, and wine. Choose mulberries that are big and ripe if you opt to buy them in stores. You can refrigerate them for three days or freeze them for up to three months.
Cloudberries (Rubus chamaemorus) are the fruit of a tundra plant that produces orange, edible berries. They are also known as nordic berries, bakeapples, Knoutberries, low-bush salmonberries, averin, and evron.
Cloudberries only grow in the wild and look similar to a blackberry or raspberry, but they’re juicier and have a more complex flavor. You might think of them as a cross between a blackberry and a pineapple, with hints of raspberry and red currant.
Barberries are edible berries that grow on barberry shrubs, and you can find them all over the world. Barberries have long been used for their medicinal properties and have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities.
They are rich in vitamin C and have a sharp, acidic flavor. You are more likely to have a taste of barberries in Persian cuisine, where they use dry barberries to make rice pilaf and in stuffing poultry (to add flavor). You can also buy processed barberries as jams and find them in candies, soft drinks, and sweets.
Barberries help with
- Managing diabetes
- Fighting dental infections
- Treating acne
- Treating digestive problems
- Treating skin infections
In the culinary world, barberry (also known as pepperidge bush) is frequently used to make jam, jelly, and wine. But while barberries may be an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, the barberry bush can be toxic if your pets or livestock ingest it.
7. Goji Berries
Goji berries (Lycium barbarum) are bright orange berries that are native to China. They are sweet with a slightly sour flavor and contain zeaxanthin and beta-carotene.
Goji berries have several uses:
- Provides dietary fiber
- Helps eye health
- Promotes healthy bones
- Promotes healthy skin and cell development
You can get goji berries in most health food stores, either fresh or dried. You can add them to smoothies, oatmeal, sweet sauces, salads, trail mixes, and desserts. You can also carry them with you and munch on them as snacks.
However, it is best to consult your doctor before eating goji berries if you are taking blood thinners, diabetes medications, and blood pressure medicines, as they tend to interfere with them.
Cranberries are edible fruits commonly grown in North America, while other types grow in the wild. They contain several vitamins and minerals. They are related to blueberries, blueberries, and lingonberries.
Cranberries are sour and are generally not eaten raw. You can consume them as juice or blend them with other fruits juices. You can eat them in:
- Baked goods
- Extract supplements
Cranberries have vitamin C, vitamin E, and dietary fibers. Here are some of the ways that cranberries are beneficial to your health:
- Immune booster
- Prevent hypertension
- Prevents obesity
- Good for the heart
- Reduces chances of getting a stroke
- Prevents or delays arthritis
- Reduces chances of getting cancer
A currant is a sweet, black grape that grows on shrubs. Grapes are also berries, and that is why currants feature in this list.
Currants are members of the Ribes family and thrive in both warm and cold climates. Currants are found in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and the United Kingdom, while other varieties are native to North America.
There are black, red, and white currants that each feature a bright acidic flavor. You can find them in farmers’ markets where you can buy them fresh on their stem. You can also find dried currants.
It is easy to grow currants as the plant enjoys full sun and partial shade. However, you have to check with your state to know if you can plant it. Currants were banned in the U.S. in the 1900s because they are prone to fungal disease. But some states have since lifted the ban.
You can use currants to
- Flavor meat
- Make jams and preservatives
- Make sauce
- Garnish fruit salads
- Garnish desserts
- Make drinks
- Bake with
Currants are high in vitamins and antioxidants, with black currant having the most benefits in terms of nutrients. Currants have flavonoids, polyphenols, and anthocyanin. Currants are rich in vitamin C, which aids in absorbing iron. A cup of black currant will help you meet your daily recommended intake of vitamin C.
Eating currants can
- Improve digestive health
- Prevent premature aging
- Keep skin and eyes healthy
- Prevent hypertension
- Alleviate symptoms of psoriasis and eczema
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce fevers
How To Know if a Berry Is Edible
When camping or walking in the forest, you will probably come across different berries. It is important to know whether a berry is edible or poisonous before eating it.
Here are some tips for identifying types of berries:
The simplest way to identify types of berries is to do a little research. Check with your local extension service or agricultural center for lists of common berries in your area. Get to know the berry itself, and you’ll be able to identify it in the wild later.
Know which plants grow berries in your area. Knowing the plants that grow berries in your region will help you identify them easily. For example, juniper berries grow only on juniper plants.
Check out this article to know the edible red berries you can grow at home.
Familiarize Yourself With Berry Seasons
Check when the berries ripen. Knowing when berries ripen helps you distinguish between similar-looking fruits that grow at different times of the year.
Examine the color
Learn what color the ripe berry should be. Some berry types turn blue or red when they ripen, while others might remain green or yellowish. The color can be very helpful if you’re trying to determine whether or not a berry is ripe.
For example, blackberries stay green until they’re ripe, while raspberries turn from white to pink and then red when they’re ready to eat.
Examine the skin
Look for berries that have clustered skin. Berries that are bumpy with many clusters are often safe.
Examine the color
Berries that are black, blue, and purple are highly edible except for the nightshade berry, which looks very similar to a blueberry but is toxic when consumed.
It is extremely important to do an edibility check before eating a blue, black, or purple berry in the wild.
Beware of Green, White, and Yellow Berries
Most green, white and yellow berries are toxic, with just a few varieties being edible. It is best if you steer clear of them, as they have the highest risk of toxicity.
Perform Edibility Test on Orange and Red Berries
Edibility tests on red and orange berries will help protect you, as these berries have a fifty-fifty chance of being toxic.
Types of Poisonous Berries to Avoid
Since edible berries have been around for thousands of years, many of them have earned great respect as a part of human nutrition. We can say that berries have been with us since the very beginning, and we should still eat them today because they are loaded with nutrients that are essential for our survival.
It’s important to note that not all berries are edible and to know which ones aren’t edible.
Here is a list of poisonous berries you should avoid:
- Bittersweet nightshade
- Holly berries
- Horsenettle fruit
- Poison Ivy berries
- Mistletoe berries
- Pokeweed berries
- Virginia creeper berries
- Yew berries
- Jerusalem cherries
- Wintergreen berries
- Manzanita berries
- Juniper berries
When going hiking, camping, or coming across berries that you are not aware of, use a local guide that specifies the types of berries available in the locality. The guide will help you know which ones to avoid and which berries to eat.
In case of an emergency, call your doctor or the national poison control line that may be on your map or guide.
There are many different types of berries that people eat, including strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and cranberries. Edible berries are often rich in fiber and vitamins, making them a healthy snack or addition to a meal.
Many edible berries can be grown in home gardens or eaten fresh out in the wild. They are an important part of a healthy diet due to their high content of antioxidants and vitamins. These antioxidants help prevent cell damage within the body’s organs.
There are also poisonous berries that resemble edible ones, so it is important for people to be able to tell the difference between the two.