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What Does Boysenberry Taste Like? The Ultimate Guide to Boysenberries

Did you know that boysenberries are a modern plant? In fact, they’re a mix of four different berry types. There’s a fascinating history behind this flavorful fruit. But the most crucial question is: what does boysenberry taste like?

In today’s food guide, boysenberry lovers are in for a treat. We’ll answer everything you need to know about these berries.

Bush with growing boysenberry

What are Boysenberries?

A boysenberry is a mix of four different berry types. This includes raspberries, blackberries, dewberries, and loganberries.

Ripe boysenberries have a reddish and purplish hue. Sometimes the colors range from maroon to dark purple. They are soft and delicate and are only available for a short season. 

Boysenberries have many culinary uses. They are often used in pies, preserves and jams, cool beverages as well as being eaten fresh or dried.

In the United States, most boysenberry production comes from California and Oregon. However, the biggest producer and exporter of these berries is New Zealand. 

Other sub-varieties of the boysenberry include the Newberry and Silvanberry. These newer varieties are sturdier compared to boysenberries. The vines last up to 20 years and can grow in almost any climate.

Boysenberries history

The history of boysenberries goes back to the beginning of the 20th century.

In the 1920s, George Darrow from the USDA started investigating this new berry type on the market. He got the help of farmer and berry expert Walter Knott. They traced back the berries to Rudolph Boysen’s farm.

It turned out that Boysen was experimenting with breeding different types of berries. Unfortunately, he left the project and sold the farm. Darrow and Knott then took the remaining vines and planted them on Knott’s farm in California.

By the 1930s, Knott was selling hybrid berries on his farm. It was an instant hit, and he named it “boysenberries” after the original creator. Soon enough, the Knott family added boysenberries into their restaurant business.

As their small business grew, they established Knott’s Berry Farm. They quickly became famous for their boysenberry pies and preserves. During the 1980s, boysenberry production reached as far as New Zealand. 

What Does Boysenberry Taste Like?

Boysenberries are a mix of wide varieties. These berries have a complex flavor. Boysenberries have a tart flavor with hints of sweetness.

They taste like a sweeter blackberry but with a floral character from a raspberry. You’ll taste the sweet flavor and juicy intensity when you bite into a boysenberry. They also have a noticeable tang compared to their parent varieties.

When eaten fresh, boysenberry tastes like a sweet blueberry with a tangy aftertaste. Ripe boysenberries also have a similar floral character to raspberries.

Boysenberries have a juicy intensity with each bite. They also make perfect ingredients for desserts due to their sweet flavor. Unripe boysenberries are still edible. However, they have a distinct tartiness that may be unappealing. 

What Do Boysenberries look like?

At first glance, boysenberries look like blackberries. However, they are noticeably more significant in size and have a range of colors.

Boysenberries are a type of brambleberry, meaning they grow on thorny vines. The berries themselves can range in size from that of a small grape to almost the size of a ping-pong ball.

They are round or oval-shaped and deep purple in color when ripe.

Boysenberry Vs Blackberry

The primary difference between boysenberries and blackberries is in the flavor. Boysenberries have a sweet-tart flavor that is unique to the berry, while blackberries have a slightly tart taste.

Additionally, boysenberries are larger than blackberries and tend to be softer with more of a jam-like texture. Blackberries tend to be firmer in texture and more tart in flavor.

The color of a boysenberry is also a bit different with a deep red hue that some may describe as purplish.

Boysenberries are also sweeter than blackberries and have more seeds, making them ideal for baking or making jams and jellies. They’re an excellent choice for fresh eating and snacking, as well as in salads and smoothies.

Both boysenberries and blackberries are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants making them a healthy addition to any diet. 

Do Boysenberries Taste Like Blackberries?

Yes, boysenberries taste like blackberries. This is not surprising since blueberries are one of the berry’s parent varieties. Boysenberries got their sweetness and juiciness from blackberries. But they have a slightly tangier taste compared to blackberries. 

How to eat Boysenberry

The taste of boysenberry makes it a flexible ingredient. These berries go well with almost any recipe, especially desserts. Their sweet and tangy flavors can add a new level of richness to a dish. Here are six ways to use boysenberries in the kitchen:

1. Freshly Eaten

One of the best ways to eat berries is to eat them fresh. You can eat boysenberries raw. Just remember to wash the berries first and sort out the moldy ones. Keep them in an airtight container in your fridge. This will help the berries last through the week.

2. Smoothies

Another way to use boysenberries is to add them to smoothies. Mix the berries with other fruits like bananas, avocados, or other berries. They make great protein shakes and are a healthy addition to any diet.

3. Juice

If you don’t want to add dairy to your berries, try making juice. You can squeeze boysenberries like any other fruit. They are intensely juicy, so expect a lot of liquid. Feel free to add more sugar to balance out the tangy flavors. It’s best served with ice, just like lemonade.

4. Jams

Boysenberries are also great for making jams and preserves. In fact, this is what made Knott’s Berry Farm famous in the first place. You can make boysenberry jams at home and store them in mason jars. We recommend pairing them with peanut butter on toast for breakfast.

5. Pies

You can also make a pie filling with boysenberries. This comes in handy if you’ve run out of blackberries or apples. Boysenberries are sweet, rich, and have great color when baked. We suggest serving the slice with vanilla ice cream to pair the savory crust and sweet filling.

6. Parfait

Boysenberries taste great in parfaits as well. The sweet berries add a new layer of flavor to the yogurt and custard. We recommend mixing them up with other fruits in your parfait for more flavors. You can also drizzle it with syrup and chill it before serving.

Boysenberry Health Benefits

Boysenberries are an incredibly nutritious super-fruit packed with essential vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants.

These berries are rich in vitamin C. Boysenberries also contain high levels of dietary fiber. Additionally, they are a good source of manganese and potassium.

Overall, boysenberries are a great addition to any diet, as they offer many incredible health benefits. Not only do they provide essential vitamins and minerals, but the high antioxidant content also makes them a potent source to improve overall health.

How To Store Boysenberry

Boysenberries are soft and delicate fruits. They don’t have a long shelf life. But when you store these berries properly, you can extend their lifespan.

When storing boysenberries, keep them in a plastic or glass container. They will last up to 1 week in your fridge. If you opt to freeze them, they may last up to 6 months. Remember to sort out the moldy berries and wash them before storing them.

If you don’t store them immediately, they will rot quickly and change their taste.

Where Did Boysenberries Come From?

Boysenberries came from a farm in California during the 1920s. They were first produced by a farmer named Rudolph Boysen. 
However, Walter Knott, another farmer, started selling the berries. He also gave the berry its name after its original creator.

When Are Boysenberries In Season?

Boysenberries have a short season. Growers plant them early in the spring and let them ripen over the summer. These berries are often for sale from July to August.

How Will You Know If The Boysenberries Are Ripe?

One way to tell if a boysenberry is ripe is its color. Ripe boysenberries will have a dark purple color. You can also tell by its taste.
When eaten fresh, these berries should have a sweet and tangy flavor. The boysenberries’ sweet taste comes from blackberries. If it’s unripe, it will taste more tarty than tangy.


In conclusion, boysenberries are a mix of four berry types. They have a range of reddish to purplish colors. When ripe, they have dark purple skin. When it comes to flavor, these berries have sweet and tangy tastes. 

The boysenberries’ sweet taste comes from blackberries. They also got their juicy intensity from this parent berry. Meanwhile, this berry’s floral tones come from raspberries.

Boysenberries are best eaten fresh. You can add them to dishes like pies, parfaits, or smoothies. They have a short shelf life, so we recommend storing them in the fridge. The boysenberries’ bitter taste is a likely sign that it’s spoiled.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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