Just because they have nearly identical names doesn’t mean that black and red raspberries are the same plant. Sure, they’re both sweet with similar fruiting bodies, but comparing a black raspberry vs red raspberry will show you that these two fruits aren’t the same at all.
What is black raspberry? After all, you’re probably used to only seeing one type at the grocery store. While these two raspberry plants have a few similarities, we want to focus more attention on things like their growing patterns and health benefits that you don’t always get to hear about.
By the end of this article, describing the differences between black raspberries vs red raspberries should be as clear as day.
- Are Red Raspberries and Black Raspberries the Same?
- Comparing the Black Raspberry vs Red Raspberry
Are Red Raspberries and Black Raspberries the Same?
Are red raspberries and black raspberries the same? There isn’t only one difference between red and black raspberry plants. Apart from the color, these two raspberries have their fair share of differences. Comparison of raspberry varieties is necessary to determine what kinds you want to grow and eat.
The only problem is that most people assume that they’re nearly identical. What about raspberry vs blackberry? That is another issue. They are different berries and plants.
What are red raspberries, and how do they compare to black ones? Are red and black raspberries the same? The short answer to this berry question is no, red and black raspberries are not the same.
However, they do have some similarities. Both raspberry plants grow aggregate fruits. Red and black raspberries grow in brambles as well and it’s just as easy to start raspberry seeds no matter what the type. You can germinate blackberry seeds, too.
While there may be considerable likeness between these different types of berries, there are many more dissimilarities too. They are not to be confused with other common wild berries like the boysenberry, dewberries, or currants.
Comparing the Black Raspberry vs Red Raspberry
Now that you understand that these two fruits come from different plants, let’s compare Rubus occidentalis plants. Like the common types of blackberries, raspberries come in several varieties, each with unique characteristics.
The Main Difference between Red and Black Raspberry Plants
Technically speaking, wild black raspberries are a hybrid between the red raspberry and blackberry plants. Though they are related, they are treated as individual species with different growing conditions, like the blackberry, dewberry.
Black raspberry plants are native to Europe, and the flowers grow in a conical shape. They have a rather hard time reproducing without human intervention. Most of the plants only produce about ten small berries in the wild.
Wild red raspberry plants are native to North America. These plants grow in a bush shape where their new canes grow upward instead of trailing. According to Ohio State University, these plants are everbearing and self-fertile. They produce double or triple the number of berries as the black type.
More Information about the Black Raspberry Plant
Black raspberries have a more complex taste compared to other berries. They are a little more delicate with an extremely short shelf life. Black raspberries aren’t commonly used for baking desserts like cobbler because they don’t usually hold up.
Upon closer inspection, the black coloring is deep purple, which leads us to question why we don’t call them purple raspberries instead. The drupelets on these fruits are also much smaller than traditional red raspberries.
Most black raspberries today are commercially grown in the state of Oregon and raspberry harvest time is a special occasion. While you can find places to buy them fresh, you are more likely to see them in specialty foods like jam or purees.
There are several cultivars for each type of berry. Common red raspberries are Autumn Bliss and Canby, and popular black raspberry cultivars are Blackcaps and Jewel. There are other raspberries, like yellow raspberries, but those are more like red raspberries. There are thornless varieties available for both.
Red raspberries usually grow their fruits on second-year canes instead of first year canes, so they don’t usually produce fruit until the second year of life in the late summer. Trimming red raspberries should take place after fruiting. Black raspberries grow on primocanes and respond better after pruning them back to stimulate more lateral branching.
The growing zones that these two fruit plants can survive in is another crucial difference for anyone interested in gardening with them. It’s also important to know how far apart to plant raspberry bushes so there is enough air circulation between plants. This helps stem the spread of disease and insects.
Red raspberries are hardy in USDA zones three through nine, and black raspberries in USDA zones five through eight. They require similar spacing, sun, and water requirements.
Health Benefits of Black Raspberries vs Red Raspberries
Raspberries are small fruits with a hollow center. Black and red raspberries are similar in flavor and nutrition, but there are even slight differences in this aspect as well. While they are both rich in vitamin C and fiber, black raspberries tend to have more anthocyanins and antioxidants to help fight cancer and heart disease.
Cooking with Red and Black Raspberries
Black raspberries are always a little bit sweeter, yet it is hard to buy and use them while they are still fresh. One of the best ways to utilize black raspberries is to put them in ice cream to stay frozen for up to six months.
Place the berries and three tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the berries begin breaking down and releasing their juices, dissolve the cornstarch in a little bit of water and stir it into the berries. Cook for two more minutes and then push them through a sieve to remove the seeds. Set the berries aside.
To make the ice cream, whisk the yolks in a small bowl until smooth. Pour one cup of the heavy cream into a separate larger bowl and set a strainer over the top. Put the remainder of the cream, milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan and heat it until steaming and forming bubbles around the edges.
Pour a small amount of the steaming hot cream over the egg yolks, whisking while you pour. Dump the eggs back into the saucepan over the heat and continue to whisk until it thickens. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
Pour the thick custard through the strainer. Remove the strainer from the bowl and stir in the vanilla extract to combine. Let the custard chill for six hours in the fridge before churning it in an ice cream machine.
Slowly add one tablespoon of berries at a time and allow the machine to swirl in your black raspberries until you reach your desired amount. Pour the fresh ice cream into a freezer-safe container and store it in the freezer until ready to eat.
Are red raspberries and black raspberries the same? While they do have a lot in common, these fruits come from two different plants, and each has unique characteristics to enjoy.
If comparing black raspberry vs red raspberry has opened your eyes to more raspberry cultivars, share this article explaining the top difference between red and black raspberry plants on Facebook and Pinterest.