Loganberries (Rubus loganobaccus) are a tart berry related to blackberries and raspberries. They are named after Judge J. H. Logan who developed the berry in 1881 in his garden in Santa Cruz, California. He was an avid gardener and was trying to develop a new variety of blackberry. During this process he accidentally planted a blackberry bush next to a raspberry plant. The raspberry was thought to have cross-pollinated the blackberry plant, creating loganberries. Botanists today still disagree over the classification of the loganberry. Some say that the berry is a unique red species of the California blackberry (Rubus ursinus vitifolius) while others claim it is a cross between the Antwerp variety of raspberry (Rubus idaeus) and the Aughinbaugh variety of blackberry.
The loganberry plant has characteristics similar to blackberry and raspberry plants. All three grow well in the western United States and in California and Florida. Loganberries have also been transplanted to England. The bush has small thorns more similar to raspberry thorns than the larger blackberry thorns. The leaves also resemble raspberry leaves. All three berry plants grow stems several feet long called "canes" which produce flowers and berries. However, raspberry and blackberry canes tend to project into the air while the loganberry canes grow along the ground like runners. Loganberry plants grow clusters of white flowers on its canes that develop into berries. The berries ripen between August and September and are about the size of a blackberry with a deep purple-red color. The seeds in the berries tend to be smaller and softer than either blackberries or raspberries.
Loganberries do not appear to be commercially sold, so look for local sources like a Farmer's Market. Select firm, deep colored berries and taste them if you can. The berries will store in the fridge for several days. Don't wash the berries until right before you are going to use them. Loganberries can be eaten raw but are a bit sourer than either raspberries or blackberries. They make excellent preserves, puddings, sauces, ice cream, and wine. They also can and freeze well.