Making Homemade Black Raspberry Vinaigrette is a family tradition for me. The vibrant color is as pretty as it is tasty! It starts with making raspberry or blackberry vinegar just by steeping the fruit in the fridge. Of course there's a shortcut in this Southern condiment, too. Blackberries or red raspberries easily substitute for the black raspberries if you don't grow them or can't find them.
Last year, my black raspberry vines didn't produce many berries, so I made the easy substitution of blackberries.
What are black raspberries?
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.
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 our 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.
Quick Story: Our Family Tradition
Our Homemade Black Raspberry Vinaigrette was so popular with our extended family 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 chopped salad and tossed it together before the first one in line could lift the salad forks.
You could hear the grumbling 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 or black raspberries.
Mom gave both my sister and me black raspberry plants many years ago 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.
The picture of the black raspberry above is in my garden now.
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 Homemade Black Raspberry Vinaigrette but I often use blackberries that are readily available in the grocery stores and even the wild blackberries that grow behind my house.
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.
How to make the homemade vinaigrette:
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!
Homemade 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!
Other recipes you may enjoy:
I'd love to hear what dish is always at your family's holiday gathering and the story behind it.
Black Raspberry or Blackberry Vinaigrette
Black Raspberry Vinegar
- 3/4 cup fresh black raspberries, red raspberries or blackberries
- 3/4 cup Champagne vinegar
Black Raspberry Vinaigrette
- 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.