Many people assume that a blackberry and a black raspberry are different names for the same fruit. However, the blackberry and black raspberry are two different plants, with the one similarity being that they both belong to the genus Rubus, commonly classified as brambles, or thorny bushes.
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Though they share a similar size and color, blackberries are more susceptible to cold temperatures than black raspberries. Unless insulated by deep snow cover, they may not withstand temperatures below -10 degrees F. Blackberries grow best in light, sandy soil, protected from cold winter winds. Blackberries prefer a light, sandy soil with a pH in the 5.5 to 7.0 range, while raspberries prefer a soil pH of 5.6 to 6.2.
A simple way to check whether you are picking a black raspberry or blackberry is to check if the little white core is left on the plant when you remove the fruit. If it is, the plant is a raspberry, easily separated from its core when ripe. Blackberries do not separate from the core, so ripeness must be judged by color and taste.
Blackberry bushes can be erect or trailing. While trailers have larger, sweeter fruit, the erect type are often more hardy. Many trailing and semi-trailing bushes are thornless for those who prefer a less prickly time of harvest. Black raspberries, on the other hand, only grow as erect bushes.
Some interspecific hybrids have been created with raspberries and blackberries. Some of the more notable varieties are tayberry, loganberry, boysenberry and youngberry.
Both black raspberries and blackberries are eaten fresh and processed into products such as wine, jam, jelly, dessert topping, pie filling, ice cream, yogurt and other desserts. Many find that blackberries are more tart, and make better pies, while raspberries are sweeter and good for eating out of hand and on cereal.