The boysenberry is similar in shape and size to a blackberry, yet its color is a mixture of the black onyx and deep ruby. It has a hint of acid which is similar to a loganberry; but overall its complex flavor is rich and sweet. It grows on large bramble berry bushes. Today they grow throughout the Western Coast of the United States but in Northern New Zealand they are grown primarily for commercial export more than anywhere else in the world.
The boysenberry is actually what is referred to as a hybrid aggregate fruit derived from cross pollinating the flowers of three other berries: the raspberry, the loganberry, and the blackberry. It was originally developed by Charles Rudolf Boysen, a Swedish immigrant and horticulturist during the Great Depression in the Napa Valley region of California. It wasn’t until 1923 that the first plant began to bear fruit; but it was Walter Knott, a farmer in Anaheim, California, who further developed it further in 1933 leading to its popularity. This same Walter Knott had a large farm and a berry stand that sold his wife’s (Cordelia Knott) homemade boysenberry pies and jams. That was actually the beginnings of the now-famous Knott’s Berry Farm. I remember my grandparents telling me the many stops they had made at the Knott’s Berry Farm because their berries were by far the best sold anywhere and they were always fresh when they were in season. Needless to say, the line of customers far outnumbered the cars parked along the side of the road. Today you can still enjoy Mrs. Knott’s boysenberry cobbler or pie at the Knott’s Berry Farm restaurant. We’ve enjoyed that in years past, and I’d say it’s the best I’ve had by far.
As we’ve seen in other deeply rich-colored berries, the boysenberry is rich in anthocyanins, natural antioxidants that aid in helping maintain healthy brain cells, protects against oxidative damage, and appears to aid in boosting memory. They are also rich in fiber and many important vitamins. The boysenberry is definitely a fat-free fruit treat/dessert low in calories. Enjoy!