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Cherries »« Blueberries: Rabbiteye



Though usually found in the canned fruit aisle of the supermarket, boysenberries do exist in their natural form. New Zealand is one of the world’s largest producers of this interesting fruit, with much of the crop produced in Nelson.

Boysenberries are a cross between a loganberry, a blackberry, and a raspberry. While they’re not quite as much of a superfood as blueberries are, they still contain high levels of the same anthocyanins, antioxidants that fight free radicals and protect cells and tissues. Boysenberries are also a good source of folate, fibre, vitamins B3, B5, and K, potassium, and fibre.

If you can get fresh boysenberries, choose ones that are uniformly sized with no mould or shrivelling. Boysenberries are highly perishable, so either eat them on the day of purchase or freeze them.



Boysenberries are believed to have been developed in the 1920s, by Swedish immigrant Rudolph Boysen. He had a ranch in California’s Napa Valley, but abandoned his growing experiments after an accident and moved to Anaheim. When some seedlings fell into the hands of George Darrow at the United States Department of Agriculture, Darrow was so impressed with the fruit that he teamed up with fruit grower Walter Knott to track Boysen down.

Boysen took them to his old ranch, and despite the plants being frail and unkempt, Knott transplanted them at his berry farm in Buena Park in southern California. Eventually, the plants blossomed and Knott began cultivating them. It was he who named them the boysenberry, in honour of their grower. Knott’s wife used them to make pies and preserves, and over time the business grew to become the famous Knott’s Berry Farm.

By the mid-1930s the plants were available commercially, and in 1937 the plants were first introduced to New Zealand. Within 10 years it was doing well in Nelson and other areas of the country. By the 1970s a solid export industry had developed, with produce mainly being shipped to the United States, and the industry grew throughout the 1980s.


Like raspberries, boysenberries go well with chocolate. Try adding boysenberries, fresh or canned, to a chocolate brownie or chocolate cake. Or add them to a crumble.

Boysenberries can also be used in more savoury dishes – if you’re given to making flavoured vinegars, try using boysenberries in place of raspberries in your favourite raspberry vinegar recipe.

Cherries »« Blueberries: Rabbiteye


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