I’ve been thinking a lot about the west coast lately. I adore British Columbia, from the breathtaking natural beauty of isolated Bella Coola, to the inner-harbour strolls of Victoria.
Blackberries are one of the things that define my mental image of B.C. I’ve picked buckets and buckets of them over the years, staining my hands a lovely colour of red-purple known well to B.C. berry pickers. Maybe I appreciate blackberries because I myself have endured the ruined white T-shirts and thorn-scratched arms that are a key part of the hunt for enough berries to make a pie.
But good blackberries are hard to find in Edmonton. Yes, grocery stores carry them, but even when they’re in season in B.C., the ratio of puckeringly-sour to sweet-and-syrupy berries makes it hard to buy them to eat on their own.
And so, the all-season solution: a blackberry smoothie.
In this case, it’s from Sunkist. The bottles look neat – they’re a tapered football-ish shape – and the blackberry-blueberry pairing works for me. Let’s examine this tasty find, shall we?
The Pitch: Says the label: “We crush and blend Oregon blackberries and Michigan blueberries with bananas and the juices of apple, pineapple and lemon to bring you the freshest tasting blue berry smoothie made with all natural ingredients.” Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Ingredient Reality Check: First ingredient? Apple juice from concentrate. Second? Banana puree. Third? Pineapple juice from concentrate. It’s at spot number four that we find something called “berry juice blend,” which combines water with concentrated blueberry and blackberry purees.
The Taste and Texture: Thick and sticky. As with many other smoothie drinks, the banana dominates. The apple is also more present than I thought it would be. Of the two berries, the blueberry is the first that springs forward, followed by the blackberry, which is most noticeable in the finish. The blackberry is there, but it’s the quiet kid at the back of the class. The blend of flavours is nicely jammy, and it feels substantial as it slides around in one’s mouth. Not gritty. Quite sweet. Very fresh.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $4.49 for a 1 litre bottle on sale at a grocery store.
Value for cash money: Not cheap, but not terrible, given the quality.
Availability: Fairly widespread in my city, Edmonton. Check supermarkets (even smallish), plus organic shops, etc.
Nutrition?: Per 250 mL: 140 calories, 3 grams of fibre, 30 grams of sugars (comes from the fruit juices, not added sugar), 1 gram of protein, 290 mg of potassium (8% daily value), and 60% of the daily value of vitamin C. Not bad, all things considered.
The verdict: Good. Could use more blackberry character, but it’s a refreshing smoothie-in-a-bottle experience. Not as good as eating a handful of blackberries, but at least you’ll never accidentally bite into a sour, under-ripe specimen.