Looking for Blackberry Facts and Picking Tips in 2016? Scroll down this page and follow the links.
And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make
jam, salsa or pickles, see this
page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving
directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click omn the resources dropdown above.
If you have questions or feedback, please let me know!
What's in season in May 2016, and
other timely information:
Notes for May 2016: Strawberries have a very brief season;
and they start in early April in the South, May in most of the US, and early June in the North - don't miss them: See your
crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops.
And see our guide to local
vegetable festivals, such as
strawberry festivals and
blueberry festivals. Cold weather crops, like spinach,
some lettuces, peas, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks and
early onions being harvested in all but the coldest regions. Many farms and markets still
have fresh winter squash, stored from last Autumn.
You may noticed the new appearance to the website! Simpler, cleaner and
mobile-friendly! I'm rolling it out, page by page over the next 2 months. Everything is still here; you can access it from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search.
If you have any questions or suggestions,
feel free to write me!
Blackberry Facts and Picking Tips
Blackberry Facts and Picking Tips
the U.S. Blackberries typically peak during June in the South, and in July in
the North. Crops are ready at various times of the month depending on which part
of the state you are located. In order to produce good local Blackberries,
producers depend on ideal spring and early summer weather conditions.
See this page for a list of
blackberry festivals around the U.S.
Blackberry Facts and Tips
Black Raspberries, also known as "black caps" are a very healthy food;
packed with anthocyanins!
- The USDA says 1 cup of blackberries has about 62 calories.
- 1 cup of blackberries, not packed down weighs about 140 grams.
Select plump, firm, fully black berries. Unripe berries will not
ripen once picked.
Ohio State University's Article Regarding Their Prevention of Cancer
Oregon Berry Black Raspberry Brochure
- Blackberry tea was said to be a cure for dysentery during the Civil War.
During outbreaks of dysentery, temporary truces were declared to allow both
Union and Confederate soldiers to "go blackberrying" to forgage for
blackberries to ward off the disease.
- Blackberries were enjoyed by the ancient Greeks, who believed them to be
a cure for diseases of the mouth and throat, as well as a preventative
against many ailments, including gout.
- The blackberry leaf was also used as an early hair dye, having been
recommended by Culpeper, the English herbalist, to be boiled in a lye
solution in order to "maketh the hair black".
- Researchers have known for quite some time that berries contain
antioxidants which help to fight cancer causing free radicals. A study at
the University of Ohio has found that black berries are the most potent
cancer fighting berries of them all, by nearly 40 percent!
- U-pick Blackberry farms typically sell berries by the pound. A quart
equals 1 and 1/2 pounds of fresh berries.
- Do the math and be careful not to over-purchase as Blackberries quickly
mold when left at room temperature, and only last a couple of days in the
- You can easily freeze berries that you cannot 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 REALLY do a good job of this!
The berries will keep for many months frozen without air.
- Want to go to a blackberry festival?
See this page for a list!
Before you leave to go to the farm:
Always call before you go to the farm - And when they are in season, a large
turnout can pick a field clean before noon, so CALL first!
early. On weekends, then fields may be picked clean by NOON!
Most growers furnish picking containers designed for Blackberries, but they
may charge you for them; be sure to call before you go to see if you need to
If you use your own containers, remember that heaping Blackberries more than
5 inches deep will bruise the lower berries.
Plastic dishpans, metal oven pans with 3 inch tall sides and large
pots make good containers. I like the Glad storage containers like the one
something to drink and a few snacks; you'd be surprised how you can work up
a thirst and appetite! And don't forget hats and sunscreen for the sun. Bugs
usually aren't a problem, but some deet might be good to bring along if it
has been rainy.
Tips on 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.
- A ripe blackberry is deep black with a
plump, full feel. It will pull free from the plant with only a slight tug.
If the berry is red or purple, it's not ripe yet.
- Repeat these
operations using both hands until each holds 3 or 4 berries.Unlike
strawberries, blackberries are usually pretty tough, I dump mine into the
bucket. Repeat the picking process with both hands.
- Don't overfill
your containers or try to pack the berries down.
General Picking Tips
Whether you pick Blackberries from your garden or at a Pick-Your-Own farm, here
are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Pick only the berries that are fully black. Reach in between the stems to
grab for hidden berries ready for harvest. Bend down and look up into the
plant and you'll find loads of berries that other people missed!
Avoid placing the picked berries in the sunlight any longer than necessary.
It is better to put them in the shade of a tree or shed than in the car
trunk or on the car seat. Cool them as soon as possible after picking.
Blackberries may 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.
When you get home
wash the berries until you are ready to use them or freeze them. Washing
makes them more prone to spoiling.
- Pour them out into shallow pans and remove any mushed, soft or rotting
- Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash off the others, drain
them and freeze them up! (Unless you're going to make jam right away)
Blackberries are less perishable than blueberries or strawberries, but
refrigerate them as soon as possible after picking. Temperatures between 34
F and 38 F are best, but, be careful not to freeze the blackberries (while
they are in the fridge)!
- Even under ideal conditions blackberries will only keep for a week in a
refrigerator, so for best flavor and texture, use them as soon as possible
- Now, get ready to make Blackberry jam - It is VERY easy - especially
with our free Blackberry jam
directions - very easy!
- See this page to make
- And if you want to freeze them to use later, see my
How to freeze berries
- See this page for an easy recipe for
seedless blackberry pie!
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Blackberries
- How to freeze blackberries?
Just rinse them in cold
water. I use a large bowl filled with water, pour the berries in, and
gently stir them with my fingers to dislodge any dirt or bugs. Then using
my fingers like a sieve, I scoop the blackberries out of the water, and put
them in a drainer to let the water drain off. Then I just pour the berries
into a ziploc bags or vacuum sealer bags and pop them in the freezer. After
they are frozen, I remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal the
- Soaking in Salt Water? Sinkers or Floaters?
I planted 7 Blackberry bushes 2 years ago and am now in the midst of a lot
of ripening berries. Therefor...I'm making jam (along with pies and
cobblers). A friend told me that before I eat or cook with them, I should
soak the freshly picked berries in the sink full of slightly warm water and
a full Tablespoon of salt to remove any parasites (small worms). Have you
ever heard of this? Do you know of specific directions to insure all the
worms are removed? I've just been rinsing them and using them for the past
couple of days. Also, the same friend said that if the berries floated in
the water they were "good", but that if they sank to the bottom of the sink
I should throw them out. What are your thoughts?
Answer: Well, soaking in salt water sometimes (but now always) causes
grubs to dislodge. BUT. in 30 years of growing blackberries in 12 states and
2 continents. I've never seen a bug in a blackberry. But I have
heard of folks who do have a problem with pests.
If you see bugs in there, give it a try. But until then, save yourself
trouble and just wash them in a large bowl of cold water!
Floaters v. sinkers? Naaaahhhh! I've never heard that the
density of the berry was a consistent indicator of much other than weather
- I have picked my blackberries and have seen little worms. Not sure if
these are fruit flys that have laid eggs in them - or if they are grubs. I
picked some out than froze the berries. I have heard that cold will kill
them or drawn them out. If I make jam the cooked way (not freezer jam) and
some of the grubs/worms are left will it hurt people? I would like to
believe I got them all but fear I did not.
Answer: That sounds like some type of fruitworm, the grub or larval form
of a beetle. Typically, they are about 1/4-inch long. Soaking for an hour or
more in salt water (1 cup of slat to the gallon), may help draw them out. Cold would
probably kill them, but leave them inside the fruit. I don't imagine
they would be harmful if cooked into jam... but I doubt anyone would ask for
seconds if they found one. Eeeewwwwww!