Youngberry is a complex hybrid between three different species from the genus Rubus, the raspberries, blackberries, and dewberries of the rose family. The berries of the plant are eaten fresh or used to make juice, jam, and in recipes.
Youngberries were developed by fruit grower B.M. Young in Louisiana in 1905. They were later introduced to commercial markets in 1926. Youngberries can now be found growing in small fields throughout the US, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
These berries are more adaptable to warmer weather. Because of the challenges shipping the delicate Youngberries, they can typically be found at local farmer’s markets when in season.
Youngberries look more similar to Boysenberries than they do their ancestral Blackberries. When ripe, they are conical and purplish-black with firm, juicy drupes (the small fruits that make up the “berry”). They are sweeter than Blackberries without the typical tang and acidity. Youngberries have few seeds and a small core, allowing for greater juiciness of the drupes. They are also delicate, which makes shipping more challenging.
The sweet taste and lack of many seeds make the Youngberry perfect for fresh eating. Though best eaten fresh, Youngberries can also be frozen to be enjoyed at a later time. They make wonderful pies, jams and jellies and are perfect garnishes on cheesecakes, trifles or pavlovas. This Phenomenal-Dewberry cross makes great syrup and has also been used to make wine.
Youngberries are rich in vitamin C, A, E and dietary fibre. They also contain calcium, phosphorus and potassium.