Blackberries are harvested at various times across the continental United States. Southern states can have blackberries as early as June. The northern states can be July or early August. It doesn’t matter, when you harvest them. However, it does matter how you harvest them. This article will explain the technique for properly harvesting blackberries.
Dress is very important. You need solid leather shoes, socks, long pants (old jeans), t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, hat and sunglasses. Each item is important. When you go into the brush, you can expect hornets, hot sun, poison ivy, snakes and bush stickers. All of these can do a number on your skin. You also need water for dehydration purposes, if you are out a long time.
Preparing to pick, around brush, is just as important. With your heavy shoes, stop down the weeds and brush around your blackberry plants. This will make it easier to get to harvest your berries. It will also make it easier and time consuming, when you return. Stomping down weeds will also help your berry production. It allows sunlight to get to them.
Pick your berries when they are ripe. Berries will come in all sizes. One thing is constant with all ripe berries. They are a dark black. When you pick a berry, pick it gently. Do not yank or pull hard on the berry. It not only crushes the berry, it hurts the plant. Berries, not totally ripe, should be left alone to ripen. (TIP) Try to pick blackberries from the bottom of the bush. Berries, hidden by the shade, are usually bigger. Pick with a downward motion if possible.
Go slow and be careful. You can use your foot (shoe) and gently press the bush out of your way. If you are right handed, always use your left foot. This pushes the push away from your picking hand.
Berries picked, should not be in any container over a gallon in size. Actually, a half gallon would be better. this is because the weight of berries will crush those on the bottom of the container. Plastic ice cream containers work great.
Always leave some ripe berries for the birds and deer and other wildlife. The berries on the outside are easy for wildlife to get to. Those are the ones to leave.
Fill your sink or wash basin with cold clean water. Then, submerge your berries into the water. Do not let water run on top of your berries. The water force will break them up and remove juice from them. Gently, use your hands to remove leaves, twigs and insects from the water. Move the berries around in the water gently. Next place the berries into a cauldron. Repeat this process three times.
You can then can, make jelly or jam, cook with them or freeze them. I freeze them in freezer storage bags. Label and date the bag.
Blackberries are second only to blueberries in antioxidants. They are great for fruit pies, bakery items, mixed fruit cocktails and cereals.