Berry Picking: One for Me, Two for the Bucket

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Difficulty: Beginner

garden tips by region - berry picking

With planting and pruning berry plants complete, the next step — picking — is the payoff. Be sure to watch your berries carefully and pick them before the birds do.

How to Pick Berries:

  1. Pick during a sunny morning when berries are dry and most flavorful.
  2. Berries on each bush will ripen over a two-week period; pick every couple of days.
  3. Pick raspberries when dark red and they pull from the vine easily.
  4. Blueberries are best picked when a powdery white coating appears on their skin, a few days after they turn blue. They should pull away with the slightest tug.
  5. Cut strawberries from the stem when fully red, before they get soft; do not pull the berry.

How to Store Berries:

  1. Blueberries keep a week in the refrigerator.
  2. Raspberries keep for about five days in the refrigerator, but don’t wash them; it makes them soggy.
  3. Unwashed strawberries keep for three to five days in the refrigerator.
  4. To freeze, place whole washed and dried berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and put in freezer. When frozen, store in airtight bags and keep for up to two months.

Tip:

Berries are delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They add flavor and texture to smoothies, pies, garden-to-table cocktails and more. Berries make everything better.

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