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:
- Pick during a sunny morning when berries are dry and most flavorful.
- Berries on each bush will ripen over a two-week period; pick every couple of days.
- Pick raspberries when dark red and they pull from the vine easily.
- 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.
- Cut strawberries from the stem when fully red, before they get soft; do not pull the berry.
How to Store Berries:
- Blueberries keep a week in the refrigerator.
- Raspberries keep for about five days in the refrigerator, but don’t wash them; it makes them soggy.
- Unwashed strawberries keep for three to five days in the refrigerator.
- 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.
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.