How And When To Harvest And Store Blackberries

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This article provides helpful tips for how to harvest and store blackberries
by Brett · All Zones · Techniques & Methods · 0 Comments · October 11, 2013 · 3,200 views

Harvesting and watering is fairly straightforward and simple.

When To Harvest Blackberries...

The berries are ripe and at peak flavor when they begin to lose their glossy shine and turn slightly dull. A ripe blackberry is deep black with a plump, full feel. If the berry is red or purple, it's not ripe yet. Select plump, firm, fully ripe blackberries as unripe berries will not ripen once picked. Erect varieties are about two weeks earlier than trailing or semi-trailing varieties. Harvest should cover two to three weeks. The two groups also bear their fruit differently: upright kinds have fruit at the tips of the canes, trailing kinds have berries all along their length. The trailing types tend to be less hardy than the uprights, but they are usually more productive. Your choice depends on where you live, how much space you have, and the variety of fruit you prefer.

How To Pick Blackberries...

There are two types of blackberries to know about: thorny and thornless. Obviously, the thornless are easier to pick, but some people claim the thorny varieties are sweeter. With the thorny plants, you want to reach into the plant in the gaps, so you don't need to touch anything but the berry you're after, avoiding the thorns.
The berry can be pulled free from the plant with only a slight tug. Repeat these operations using both hands until each holds 3 or 4 berries. Even though blackberries are tougher than some other small fruits, don't overfill your container or try to pack the berries down.

Storing Fresh-picked Blackberries

Avoid placing the picked berries in the sunlight any longer than necessary. It is better to put them in a shady spot. You'll want to cool them as soon as possible after picking. Blackberries can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week, depending upon the initial quality of the berry. After a few days in storage, however, the fruit loses its bright color and fresh flavor and tends to shrivel. That being said, you can easily freeze berries that you can not use right away - just wash, cut the hulls off and pop them into a ziplock bag, removing as much air as possible. Those vacuum food sealers work great for this. The berries will keep for many months frozen without air.


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