Never heard of black raspberries? You are not alone and many mistake them if they even see them for blackberries. The best way to tell the difference is on the inside. Black raspberries will be hollow and blackberries have a white core. Since my black raspberry vines don’t produce anymore, I make the easy substitution of blackberries when I make Black Raspberry Vinaigrette-you can hardly tell the difference.
I am blessed to have grown up near the Ozarks of Arkansas where we ate what we grew and if we didn’t grow it, can it, raise it, shoot it, or bake it we went without….we didn’t go without much. In particular, we grew black raspberries and made black raspberry vinegar which was the basis for Black Raspberry Vinaigrette.
I can’t remember where my mom got the first black raspberry plants. I just remember always having Black Raspberry Vinaigrette at every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. It was so popular that we would run out of it before all the family members could make it through the buffet line!
My clever and quick-thinking mom came up with a plan one year to prevent the first few in line from generously pouring out the coveted concoction onto their salads, leaving those at the end of the line without. She poured an ample amount of the Black Raspberry Vinaigrette on the entire salad and tossed it together before the first one in line could lift the salad forks. There were near-silent rumblings among all of us as we desperately looked around for the iconic glass cruet-you know, the one where you fill it up so far with oil, then up to the next line with water and it had a plastic flip top? Yep, that was what she made it in and still does today-with red raspberries.
Mom gave both my sister and me black raspberry plants so we could grow our own. I think my sister had better luck than I did. I know she grows buckets full of red raspberries. But sadly, my mom’s vines no longer produce but she does grow red raspberries. This is what my canes (vines) look like below in November. They have the tell-tale dark purplish canes with frosted white undertones.
If you would like to try your hand at growing black raspberries, here is a link to Burpee seed’s Niwot Raspberry. It is an ever bearing black raspberry. Raspberries handle the cold better and bear fruit earlier than blackberries. Here in Alabama, we have more hot than cold days.
I am keeping up the tradition of making the Black Raspberry Vinaigrette but I use blackberries that are readily available in the grocery stores. I even have a few wild blackberries in the woods by our house so I will have to try those next year.
As you know, most of my recipes are Southern with some kind of a shortcut in them. Mom’s recipe is also a shortcut recipe. She has always used the Good Seasons Italian Dressing and Recipe Mix. That’s where the glass or plastic jar (called a cruet) with the flip top lid came from. How many of you have one of these? They used to come with the package of dressing mix and available here online.
The elegant looking and unique-flavored vinaigrette starts with this seasoning mix and literally follows the directions on the package with one exception. We substitute homemade black raspberry or blackberry vinegar for the vinegar on the package.
Get started by steeping 3/4 cup of berries in 1 cup of Champagne vinegar. Of course, white or apple cider vinegar will also work. This is what it looks like immediately after putting the berries in the jar of vinegar.
This is what it looks like after the berries steep in the Champagne vinegar for two weeks in the fridge. (Ignore the reflection of my jeans in the pic. lol) Drain the berries and the vinegar can last in the fridge for a couple of months in the fridge.
Look at that gorgeous color red in the vinegar from those blackberries in just two weeks! Don’t forget to put it in the fridge, though. You will have a science experiment on your hands, otherwise.
Once the oil, vinegar, and salad dressing mix is shaken in a glass jar or plastic freezer container, it can be stored in the fridge for several weeks. The vinegar can be stored for a several months in the fridge and it’s great to give as a holiday gift along with a packet of Good Seasons dressing mix.
I love it when blackberries are speckled with red. It’s like a bonus splash of color! Tip: If you have a batch of Black raspberries or blackberries that are too tart for snacking, they are perfect for making flavored vinegar!
Black Raspberry or Blackberry Vinaigrette is perfect for salads in the summer where you can toss in the berries or for Thanksgiving and Christmas in a chopped salad like my family makes.
Everyone in our family knows that one of the items on the menu without fail is “the big salad” with Black (or red) Raspberry Vinaigrette and most of the lettuces come from my mom and sister’s fall garden. If you make this recipe and want it to stretch further, don’t forget to toss it with the dressing first!
I’d love to hear what dish is always at your family’s holiday gathering and the story behind it. If you liked this vinaigrette recipe you may also like my Apple Cider Vinaigrette recipe with my Apple and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad.
What is that one dish at your holiday table that might cause a riot if you didn't make it? For my family in Arkansas, it is Black Raspberry Vinaigrette tossed with a bottomless bowl of chopped salad. Even though Mom now makes it with red raspberries, it is still a tradition we can't live without.
- 3/4 cup fresh black raspberries, red raspberries or blackberries
- 3/4 cup Champagne vinegar
- 1/4 cup Black Raspberry Vinegar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 .7 oz package Good Seasons Italian Dressing and Recipe Mix
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil or olive oil
Place fresh berries in a glass jar or container with a tight fitting lid; pour vinegar over berries and seal with the lid. Refrigerate for two weeks. Drain and remove the berries. The "pickled" berries can actually be eaten, but are quite twangy.
Combine vinegar, water, and dressing mix in a jar with a tight fitting lid; seal and shake well. Add oil; seal and shake well. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
If you don't want to make your own Black Raspberry Vinaigrette or they aren't in season, you can substitute red raspberries or blackberries. In a pinch, just substitute red wine vinegar for the raspberry vinegar to make the vinaigrette.