- Learn About Blackberries
- How long does it take blackberries to turn black
- What to look for
- Basic cooking
- Goes with / good in
- Blackberry guide: where to find, how to cook and recipe ideas
- Our guide on how to forage for blackberries in Britain, with a few key details regarding where the fruit can be found, characteristics and recipe ideas.
- What is the season for picking blackberries in the UK?
- Is it safe to eat wild blackberries in the UK?
- Where to look for blackberries
- Blackberry facts: history, folklore and scientific facts
- Bramble thorns caused the downfall of one Greek hero
- Truces were called during the Civil War to pick blackberries
- What is the scientific study of blackberries called?
- Unripe blackberries are red, not green
- What are the health benefits of eating blackberries?
- Best places for picking blackberries
- Leigh Woods, Bristol
- New Forest, Hampshire
- Wimbledon Common, London
- Limewoods, Lincolnshire
- Haldon Forest Park, Devon
- Kielder Forest, Northumberland
- How to store blackberries
- Can you freeze blackberries?
- Blackberry recipes
- 1. Castor Beans
- 2. Choke Cherries
- 3. English Yew
- 4. Moonseed
- Blackberry Facts and Picking Tips
- What’s in season in February 2020, and other timely information:
- Blackberry Recipes, Freezing and Jam directions
- Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Blackberries
- Canning books
- The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes Paperback – May 31, 2016
Learn About Blackberries
Common Disease Problems
Anthracnose: This fungus causes spots on the canes with purple margins that can spread and cover the stem. Spots may appear on young leaves that are yellow with purple margins, and may cause holes in the leaves. Canes and stems may die back. Burpee Recommends: Remove and destroy infected canes and any leaf debris.
Crown Gall: Rough, wart-like growths or galls appear on the crown at or just below the soil surface. These can also form on the stems or canes of blackberries. Plants can become stunted, subject to drought stress and wind damage. Large enough galls may cause girdling which results in plant death. Burpee Recommends: Examine the canes prior to planting for any indication of galls. Avoid injury of the plant. You can remove the gall if it is small enough by cutting around it into healthy wood allowing that area to dry out, cutting into healthy tissue as little as possible. If plant is severely infected, remove it.
Orange Rust: This fungus causes plants to become stunted and weak with poor fruit production. Shortly after new growth appears in spring new shoots are weak and spindly, leaves are pale green to yellow. In a few weeks lower leaf surfaces are covered in bright orange powdery spores. Affected leaves wither and die by early summer. The disease is systemic, and remains throughout the plant so just removing infected leaves will not improve the health of the plant. Burpee Recommends: Dig up and remove infected plants and destroy nearby wild brambles. Remove plants before the spores are discharged if possible.
Phytophthora Root Rot: This soil borne disease thrives in poorly drained soils and can live in the soil for years. Above ground symptoms include pale or reddish leaves, small leaves, defoliation, branch die back, stunting and death. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants.
Powdery Mildew occurs on the top of the leaves in humid weather conditions. The leaves appear to have a whitish or greyish surface and may curl. Burpee Recommends: Avoid powdery mildew by providing good air circulation for the plants by good spacing and pruning. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.
Common Pest and Cultural Problems
Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.
Japanese Beetles: Burpee Recommends: Hand pick early in the morning into a bucket of soapy water.
Borers: Larvae are worms with whitish bodies with brown heads about 1 inch long. The adults are clear-winged moths with black and yellow bands on their bodies. The larvae tunnel in canes and cause lateral growth to wither and canes to die. Burpee Recommends: Prune and destroy infested canes.
Leafhoppers: These appear in varying shades of green, yellow and brown, are very active and slender and wedge shaped. They can leave foliage pale and curled and leave secretions on the plants and fruit. They can spread disease. Burpee Recommends: Try insecticidal soaps. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for control assistance.
Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.
How long does it take blackberries to turn black
by admin Posted in Cars & Transportation on 15.11.201915.11.2019
Luckily for the black raspberry, we will gladly take the microphone and by Health: Blackberries are healthy for you in their own right, but do not The individual cells of the berry are small and do not protrude very far out from the berry. of berries that were both black – turns out this was the two berries!. As long as you can beat the birds, you can probably find fresh black berries to mistake black raspberries for other black compound fruits, they do have They will grow up to 1/2 inch across, turning from green to yellowish to. What’s in season in October , and other timely information: Strawberries and cherries are finishing up in the north, long done in the South. A study at the University of Ohio has found that black berries are the most potent cancer.
The time it takes for a blackberry plant to grow is not the same amount of time it takes for the Blackberry plants do not fruit the same year they are planted. Wait until the blackberries become dull from their initial shiny black color to harvest. With their dark purple to blue-black berries, plump and fragrant, blackberries can be a dull red and then turning a dark purple or blue-black as the berries mature . will take place during the final week, so keep an eye out for almost ripe berries to Pick · Water Raspberries · How Long Does It Take a Blackberry to Grow?. Blackberries may be planted as bare root or potted plants. The fruit will ripen from red to black, but do not pick them as soon as they turn black, wait days.
Once the fruits start to form, it can take several weeks for them to change from Blackberries are ripe when they turn black all over, with no red or green parts. What’s in season in October , and other timely information: Strawberries and cherries are finishing up in the north, long done in the South. A study at the University of Ohio has found that black berries are the most potent cancer. Make sure you plant your blackberries far away from wild blackberries, which may We have provided detailed pruning information below, but do not be scared. is to simply remove the old canes that already bore fruit and let new ones take Mature berries are plump yet firm, a deep black color, and pull freely from the.
Here are some tips for taking advantage of wild blackberry and raspberry season in your area. There are many, many types of wild edible berries, but blackberries and raspberries are by far the Blackberries are always black when ripe while raspberries can be red or black, . Why do my blackberries turn red overnight?. Blackberries should only be left out at room temperature if being consumed within as blackberries are highly perishable and do not ripen after being picked . From red to ripe only takes a few days at most. From green berries to ripe berries takes a few weeks; the berries have to grow and mature.
UK blackberry season. Photograph: guardian.co.uk
The blackberry has been foraged and enjoyed for a very long time, at least 8,000 years according to the archaeological evidence. They are more highly prized in western Europe than anywhere else in the world, and collected and eaten most enthusiastically of all in Britain, where blackberrying occupies a special cultural niche as a uniquely rewarding leisure activity.
There are now as many as 2,000 varieties of Rubus fruticosus worldwide, if you count the naturally occurring hybrids and commercial cultivars, and none of them produce true berries. Instead, they are “aggregate fruits”, agglomerations of individual berries known as drupelets.
The family also includes raspberries, and it’s more difficult than you might think to tell the two apart. There are black raspberries and red blackberries, and the only way to be certain is to pick one; the blackberry will come away with the hard centre, or receptacle, retained within the fruit whereas that of the raspberry will be left behind on the plant. The only thing to do then is to eat the berry, and then conduct the experiment again, repeatable results being the cornerstone of empirical scientific research.
In the early season, with cream and a little sugar, the still slightly tart berries make a pleasant change from strawberries. As the fruits swell and ripen into September their sweetness becomes more pronounced and they find other homes in pies, crumbles and cobblers, frequently combined with early apples for a taste which is the embodiment of the changing seasons.
There is traditionally a date after which the berries should not be picked, most commonly taken to be Michaelmas (29 September) but later in some areas, after which time the devil is said to spit or stamp (or worse) on the berries, rendering them unfit. It seems likely that this is a reference to the grey botrytis cinerea mould which envelops the fruits later in the season. No mention in folklore is made of the more prosaic problems associated with low hanging fruit in areas where dogs are walked and child pickers roam.
According to Lia Leendertz, Loch Ness is extremely popular because it “produces a high yield from thornless, compact plants – perfect for small gardens. Alternatively, the vigorous Ashton Cross produces vast crops with a proper wild blackberry flavour. But Kotata, with its beautiful long, black glossy berries, perhaps boasts the best flavour of all.”
If your style is to go no further than your own patch when foraging see here for more information on growing your own blackberries.
What to look for
The prize berry for flavour, size and ripeness is the one at the extremity of the bunch, and it’s a sure sign that someone else has beaten you to the bush if they’ve vanished by the time you arrive. A glossy black swollen appearance indicates a ripe berry; if insects have been at the fruit it will tend to appear deflated. For more on the finer points of foraging from acclaimed expert John Wright, see here.
A good source of vitamin C, and also dietary fibre in the multitudinous tiny seeds. They also contain a mild analgesic in the form of salicylates; useful in combating the effects of an autumnal sore throat, but potentially less helpful to people with an allergy to asprin.
August to mid-October.
It’s a rare person indeed who can contemplate storing blackberries. Fresh, they will not keep even overnight without losing taste and condition, and that’s without factoring in the most notorious predator of the picked blackberry; the forager’s own family. They do freeze very well, though, making a glut a nice problem to have. As with other soft fruit, spread them in a single layer on a tray and freeze them before transferring to a container, or simmer them briefly and freeze or refrigerate the resulting purée for a couple of days.
Stew briefly with a little lemon juice and / or sugar to taste.
Goes with / good in
As noted, blackberries and apples are best friends forever, and blackberries also lend themselves to jelly, jam, compote, tart, pie, iced desserts, syrup, liqueur and ratafia.
Nigel Slater’s deep dish blackberry and apple pie
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s blackberry and apple leather
Nigel Slater’s blackberry and apple fool
John Wright’s bramble mousse
Paul A Young’s chocolate bramble cocktail
Fraser Doherty’s basic fruit jam recipe
• You can find plenty more blackberry recipes by using our new recipe search
During summer, nature begins to offer a bounty all its own, free for the picking – wild berries! And if you’re new to wild berry picking, the best place to start is with wild blackberries and raspberries. They’re unmistakable, easy to pick, delicious, and can readily be found in summer.
Here are some tips for taking advantage of wild blackberry and raspberry season in your area.
About Wild Blackberries and Raspberries
There are many, many types of wild edible berries, but blackberries and raspberries are by far the easiest to identify. Growing in those telltale tiny clusters, they don’t have any lookalikes and are all safe to eat.
Spring berry blooms.Blackberries and raspberries are very similar, and they’re picked (and enjoyed!) in the same ways. Blackberries are always black when ripe while raspberries can be red or black, depending on the variety. For our purposes, the only real difference is that raspberries are hollow and cup shaped, while blackberries are solid to the stem.
With a little practice, you’ll quickly learn to identify the plants as well. They have three compound leaves that are oval-shaped and toothed along the edges. The wild plants are very thorny (cultivated varieties can be thornless) and usually grow in brambles.
I like to scope out my picking-spots in the spring, when the plants are covered in small white blooms that are easily spotted from a distance. The berries ripen in May or June in warmer climates, and July in cooler climates, and can be picked over several weeks.
Farm fence covered in blackberries.
Blackberry and Raspberry Picking Tips
As you head out with your pails and baskets, follow these tips for successful wild berry picking:
- Where to Find Berries: Look along sunny roadways, fences, and in overgrown meadows. Berries are especially common at the edge of wooded areas, which means you can easily spot them along the sides of country highways and around the edges of pastures and farm fields. Be sure to ask permission before picking berries on private property.
- Protect Yourself: In addition to being thorny, blackberries and raspberries tend to grow in wild, overgrown areas that are frequently inhabited by unpleasant companions such as wasps, snakes, mosquitoes, chiggers, and poison ivy. Wear closed shoes, long pants, and long sleeves to protect your skin from stings and bites. Gloves are also helpful but tend to snag on the thorns; I usually just accept a few scratched fingers as the cost of doing business.
- Make Noise: People aren’t the only ones who enjoy blackberries. Be sure to make plenty of noise to alert other nibbling critters, such as bears and snakes, of your presence.
- Pick Only Ripe Berries: Blackberries and raspberries don’t ripen after they’re picked, so only take the best ones. Ripe berries are large, plump, deeply colored, and easily slip off the stem. If you have to tug, it isn’t ripe. I always find it helpful to taste a few berries here and there to make sure I’m doing a good job finding the ripest, sweetest ones!
- Carry a Container: Drop your berries into a shallow bucket or basket. I like to use a lightweight plastic bowl or colander. It’s OK to fill the container, but don’t pack them in or press them down. Since the plants are so thorny, give everybody their own bucket, so that you don’t have to detangle yourself every time your hands are full.
- Be Patient: Often the best berries are hidden in the middle of the plant. If you take the time to search out the ripe ones, you may find that you can get all the berries you want without taking more than a few steps.
- After Picking: Keep your berries in the shade and get them into the fridge or a cooler as soon as possible. They’ll keep for a few days, possibly a week, in the fridge. Don’t wash them until right before you’re going to use them. To wash, rinse the berries in cool water, discarding any rotten or squashed ones.
- Salt Water Bath: Some veteran berry pickers like to soak the fresh berries for an hour or two in salt water (one cup per gallon), to dislodge any little grubs that might be hiding inside. I’ve never done this and never spotted any worms; but then again, maybe I’ve inadvertently eaten some extra protein!
- Eating Berries: I tend to eat berries almost as fast as I pick, but if any fresh berries actually make it indoors, there are all sorts of ways to enjoy them. Sprinkle fresh berries on cereal or salads, make jam, enjoy cobblers and pies, and freeze the leftovers for smoothies or a midwinter treat. Blackberries and raspberries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, so other than a possible stomachache, they really can’t be overeaten.
Wild berry cobbler!
- Peach Harvest (article)
- How to Pick and Store Fresh Strawberries from Your Garden (article)
- Which Fruits and Vegetables Continue to Ripen After Picking? (article)
- Mulberry Trees Make Great Addition to Yard (article)
Blackberry guide: where to find, how to cook and recipe ideas
Few late summer activities are as typically British as rooting through a hedgerow in search of blackberries. The hardy brambles that grow the plump little fruits thrive anywhere from dense woodlands to wasted shrubbery, making the blackberry extremely common.
Blackberries are also a particularly good introduction to foraging, as they are easily recognisable and are relatively simple to pluck. A popular childhood activity, blackberry-picking is a common introduction to foraging for many people.
Our guide on how to forage for blackberries in Britain, with a few key details regarding where the fruit can be found, characteristics and recipe ideas.
What is the season for picking blackberries in the UK?
The first early blackberries start appearing in August in the UK, but September and October can also be good picking months depending on location.
Is it safe to eat wild blackberries in the UK?
Grown in clusters along hedgerows, it is safe to eat wild blackberries found in the UK, although you should wash and freeze them first to kill any bugs.
The blackberry should not be confused with the black raspberry, which looks almost identical. The easiest way to tell the difference is by the core. Blackberries will always have a white core, with part of the stem still attached, whereas black raspberries are hollow in the center as the stem is left behind when picked. Black raspberries are a treat to find though – they are less tart than blackberries and make excellent jams.
Where to look for blackberries
You will find blackberries in woods, hedges, heaths, roadside verges, and possibly even your garden. Brambles are usually found in a tangled straggly clump, with prickly, toothed leaves that turn reddish green in the autumn. The berries should be a deep, purple-black when picked. Blackberries are at their best towards the latter half of summer, peaking in August and early September.
August and September is the best time to pick blackberries (Getty Images)
Blackberry facts: history, folklore and scientific facts
One of the most famous English folk stories states that blackberries should not be picked after Michaelmas Day as the devil has urinated on them, angry after he fell from Heaven onto a blackberry bush. The legend has some truth as wetter and cooler weather in late October often allows the fruit to spoil, but it should not be taken literally – blackberries picked in late October can still be very tasty!
Bramble thorns caused the downfall of one Greek hero
The Greeks enjoyed blackberries and believed them to be a cure for mouth and throat diseases. According to Greek mythology, the hero Belleraphon was thrown into brambles after he dared to ride the Pegasus to Mount Olympus. He was blinded by the thorns in his fall and wandered alone and outcast thereafter.
Truces were called during the Civil War to pick blackberries
During the Civil War, blackberry tea was said to be the best cure for dysentery. Temporary truces were declared throughout the conflict to allow both Union and Confederate soldiers to forage for blackberries. It was not completely successful however, as outbreaks of dysentery still plagued the soldiers throughout the war.
What is the scientific study of blackberries called?
Surprisingly, Batology is the name given to the study of blackberries. Chiropterology is the study of bats. Just to confuse you even further – a batologist is defined as someone who studies blackberries but is also frequently and probably mistakenly used a colloquial and humorous term for someone who studies bats.
Unripe blackberries are red, not green
Blackberry fruit are red in colour, rather than green, before they are ripe. There is an old expression that “blackberries are red when they’re green”.
Tradition also claims that the blackberry’s deep purple colour represents Christ’s blood and the crown of thorns was made of brambles.
What are the health benefits of eating blackberries?
According to English folklore, passing under the archway formed by a bramble branch can cure hernias, ruptures, pimples and boils. This has also been used as a remedy for “downer” cows, cows that for whatever reason are unable to stand.
Apparently, eating blackberries can also help you look younger, as blackberries are rich in anti-oxidants that promote the healthy tightening of tissue, making your skin less likely to sag or wrinkle.
Blackberries have long been thought to have a number of health benefits. (Getty)
Blackberries have also be been used as hair dye with Nicholas Culpeper, an English herbalist from the 1600s, recommended the blackberry leaf to be used as hair dye. He advised that the leaves were to be boiled in a lye solution in order to “maketh the hair black”.
The tastiest berry is always just out of reach! Credit: Getty
Best places for picking blackberries
Brambles can be found in most woodlands, but here is a small selection of places to start your blackberry hunt. Here is our pick of a couple of our favourite blackberry picking spots.
Leigh Woods, Bristol
Leigh Woods in Bristol offers rich pickings, with the woodlands stuffed full of tasty blackberries.
Path though Leigh Woods, Clifton Bristol (Getty)
New Forest, Hampshire
New Forest, Hampshire offers excellent blackberry picking and is a scenic spot for a blackberry walk.
Wimbledon Common, London
A more urban blackberry picking spot is Wimbledon Common in south west London. Commons are often quite wild in places, giving brambles chance to thrive.
Take a walk to a rare and precious limewood at Limewoods, Lincolnshire. where the new bright green leaves are the essence of springtime and it is possible to see white admiral and brown hairstreak butterflies.
Haldon Forest Park, Devon
Head deep into Haldon Forest Park to discover the secrets of the park’s magnificent trees.
Rich blackberry pickings can be found in Haldon Forest near Exeter in Devon. (Getty)
Kielder Forest, Northumberland
Kielder Forest, Northumberland. Walk an epic lakeside path or observe the mysteries of the universe in a beautiful man-made landscape.
Kielder water resevoir and forest in Northumberland, United Kingdom
How to store blackberries
Once you’ve brought your blackberries home, wash well with cold water and leave to soak with a little salt to kill any bugs. Fresh blackberries will last a day or two but blackberries ripen quickly – losing flavour and condition, so if you have a glut to use up it is worth freezing. Wash the blackberries and set aside to dry before spreading in thin layers in a container and popping in the freezer for a later date. Alternatively, you can stew with a little suger and puree, again freezing or keeping in the fridge.
Can you freeze blackberries?
Blackberries freeze well and can be used throughout winter in crumbles and pies. Freezing them will also help kill any bugs.
Use up a glut of blackberries with these easy recipes.
Blackberry and apple mini pies
Make these fruity mini pies using freshly foraged blackberries
Rustle up these easy filo pastry blackberry pie. (Getty)
Apple and blackberry crumble squares
Like classic fruit crumble but in a cuttable, transportable bar, these delicious crumble squares are perfect for a summer picnic.
These easy-to-make crumble squares are perfect for a summer picnic or hike (Photo by: manyakotic via Getty Images)
Apple and blackberry sorbet
This fruity sorbet recipe uses golden syrup instead of granulated sugar gives to give it a soft texture. If you can, use blackberries that you’ve picked yourself from the hedgerow – they taste far more intense than the big fat ones you buy in the shops.
This apple and blackberry sorbet is perfect for using up hand picked blackberries (Photo by: Getty Images)
This simple recipe is quick and easy to make and a great way for all the family to enjoy this season’s blackberries.
Serve warm with cream, custard or ice cream(Photo by: peterotoole via Getty Images)
This blackberry coulis uses only three ingredients and freezes well, making it the perfect recipe to use up the blackberries you’ve picked during the summer months- keep a batch in the freezer and use it as a topping the next time you make pancakes or chocolate fudge cake
Summer blackberry coulis is the perfect topping for ice cream or pancakes (Photo by: Getty Images)
Apple and blackberry crumble
This classic crumble is easy to make and a perfect recipe for the late summer months, when hedgerow blackberries are abundant.
Enjoy a classic crumble flavour with this easy and timeless recipe. (Photo by: ingwervanille via Getty Images)
If you love balsamic vinegar you’ll love this recipe – it’s equally useful and extremely cheap to make using blackberries you’ve picked yourself. It’s great in salad dressings or used as a cordial to treat colds.
Advertisement Home made blackberry vinegar is a great summer alternative to balsamic vinegar (Photo by: Annabelle Breakey via Getty Images)
Blackberry and coconut tray bake
You can find blackberries in hedgerows, in gardens and along railway tracks to make this easy tray bake.
This blackberry and coconut tray bake puts a modern twist on a classic British ingredient
They say that that if animals eat it, then we can eat it, too.
With berries and seeds, taking that advice could be fatal. Campers are taught the mnemonic rhymes, “white, just right” and “red, you’re dead” to warn them away from eating poisonous berries.
But this is a common misconception, as not all red berries are toxic and many white berries are poisonous, too. If you’re not careful, you might pick a wild berry that kills you.
Considered one of the deadliest trees on the planet, the only part of the English Yew — common throughout forests in Europe — that is not poisonous is the flesh of the berry surrounding its toxic seed. The tree’s luscious branches and tempting berries look inviting, but its leaves, stems, and seeds contain the toxin taxane, which will poison you in minutes.
The manchineel tree, found in the Florida Everglades, Central America, and the Caribbean, bears a sweet fruit nicknamed “the apple of death” that blisters the mouth and closes up the throat when eaten. Coming into contact with any part of the tree can be fatal, whether you breathe in its sawdust or get squirted with dripping sap.
To avoid these and other deadly foods that you may come across in the wilderness, it’s smart to be familiar with the harmful plants that grow them. You might carry a reference book with the names, photos, and descriptions of plants to watch out for.
And if you accidentally do swallow a poisonous food, you should get help immediately — call poison control or an ambulance.
1. Castor Beans
Grown on the castor bean plant native plant to India, castor beans are the deadliest plant poison in the world. The bean contains ricin, which is 12,000 times more poisonous than rattlesnake venom and can kill an adult in just a few minutes. Castor oil is safe to consume; just don’t try to cook the beans.
2. Choke Cherries
Abundant in North America, choke cherries look juicy enough to eat, but as their name suggests, they can choke you to death. The plant’s stalks and leaves are filled with hydrocyanic acid which poisons your respiratory system.
3. English Yew
Considered one of the deadliest trees on the planet, the only part of the English Yew — common throughout forests in Europe — that is not poisonous is the flesh of the berry surrounding its toxic seed. The tree’s luscious branches and tempting berries look inviting, but its leaves, stems, and seeds containing the toxin taxane will poison you in minutes.
Resembling a cluster of grapes, the fruit from the North American moonseed plant contain a poisonous seed that is fatal if eaten in large doses and not treated immediately.
Check out more of these poisonous wild foods.
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Blackberry Facts and Picking Tips
Looking for Blackberry Facts and Picking Tips in 2020? 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 on the resources dropdown above.
If you have questions or feedback, please let me know! There are affiliate links on this page. Read our disclosure policy to learn more.
What’s in season in February 2020, and other timely information:
Notes for February 2020: Summer is here and that means blueberries, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, figs, corn and tomatoes are here. Check your area’s specific crop calendar (see this page) and call your local farms for seasonal updates. Strawberries and cherries are finishing up in the north, long done in the South.
See these pages to find a local Peach festival, Blueberry festival and other festivals. We have a guide to peach varieties here. Also recipes, canning and freezing directions for strawberries, blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, corn etc.
See our comprehensive list of easy home canning, jam and jelly making, preserving, drying and freezing directions. You can access recipes and other resources 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! It is easy to make your own ice cream, even gelato, or low fat or low sugar ice cream – see this page. Also note, there are many copycat website listing U-pick farms now. They have all copied their information from here and usually do not ever update. Since 2002, I’ve been updating the information every day but Christmas; so if you see anything wrong or outdated, please write me!
Children’s Consignment Sales occur in both the Spring and Fall See our companion website to find a local community or church kid’s consignment sale!
In 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 refrigerator.
- 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!
- Leave 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 bring containers.
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 at right.
- Bring 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
- DON’T 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 berries
- 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 after purchase
Blackberry Recipes, Freezing and Jam directions
- How to make Blackberry jam – It is VERY easy – especially with our free Blackberry jam directions – very easy!
- How to make Blackberry jelly
- How to freeze berries
- Blackberry syrup, make and can it!
- Seedless blackberry pie!
- Blackberry Festivals: Where, When and More to Find an Blackberry Festival Near You this year:
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 bags.
- 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 conditions.
- 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!
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Two years ago, I planted blackberry bushes along the fence in our backyard. I bought them on a whim on our 10th anniversary. I could tell you something lofty, like it was a metaphor for having a fruitful marriage, but the truth is I bought them on impulse while at Whole Foods to pick up some goodies for dinner that night. I ran to the store for steaks, and came home with blackberry bushes.
And they have been fruitful, though it takes them time to get established. Last year we harvested a dozen; this year we’ve harvested several pints, and there are plenty more to come.
My girls love to pick those berries. With no prodding from me, they’ve made the picking part of their morning routine: dress, breakfast, sun hats (not that they need them at the early hour) and then out the door with their “picking baskets” in hand. They spend longer than needed pouring over the vines, and come back to the kitchen with baskets full of luscious deep purple berries–and quite a few more that are only partially ripe.
I chided them for those: Don’t pick before they’re ripe. Easy enough, right?
But then one morning I went with them to pick those berries–and found out that it’s not easy to tell if a blackberry is completely ripe. Sometimes it’s obvious the berry isn’t ready: the top half will be purple, the bottom half pale red. But othertimes, it’s much harder to tell. Blackberries don’t ripen evenly.
That morning I wished I’d never chided them, as I picked berry after berry that wasn’t quite ready. The parts I could see were ripe–but blackberries don’t ripen evenly, and many parts of the fruit were still developing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about ripening this summer. I’m speaking at the Influence Conference this fall, in the heart/voice track, about the journey that is the 20something and early 30something years. I’ve been thinking a lot about what women in their twenties and early thirties want to know, need to know, about their lives and faith and families and work. I’ve been thinking so much about what I wanted to know then, about what I still want to know now. I’ve been thinking about what those years are like.
They’re like blackberries.
Looking back on my twenties, one of my biggest shockers was that I didn’t ripen evenly. I didn’t know then that nobody does. I graduated from college, and I thought that made me mature–and I was, in some ways. But in other ways, I needed more time on the vine.
I was ready to get married at 21, but I had no clue about so many other parts of my life. I knew what I liked but didn’t know what I was good at. I was ready for marriage, but I hadn’t yet learned to develop good boundaries. I would learn these things, in a few years time. But I wanted to know then. I didn’t know that we don’t ripen evenly.
I was sorry I chided my girls for picking those berries before they were ripe. They didn’t know those berries don’t ripen evenly.
And I’m sorry I was so hard on myself when I was in my twenties. I thought that I was supposed to have it all figured out by then, but I didn’t know that I wouldn’t ripen evenly either.
Can you relate to this? What do you know now that you wish you had known at 21?
Of all the fruiting plants I grow in the garden, the most maligned would have to be the blackberry. When I mention to visitors that we grow a couple of different varieties most non-gardeners turn up their nose, probably picturing a wild tangle of thorny brambles just waiting to rip your forearm to shreds while trying to pick the fruit.
To an extent, this criticism is warranted. Blackberries can be invasive weeds. Down at my local creek they’ve formed great thickets, spreading by natural layering when a cane tip touches the ground, as well as by birds eating the fruit and spreading the seed. For a while I grew loganberries and youngberries in the garden, but I bailed when the plants were still young and pulled them out. Their fruit is delicious, but the plants have savage thorns and if you let them get away, you will rue the day. I’m still pulling up root suckers two years later.
Thornless blackberries are far more manageable. The fruit is just as tasty as the wilder thorny varieties, but the plants are much less vigorous and genuinely thorn free. This makes picking the fruit and training the plants a pleasure, rather than an a shirt tearing hassle.
Of the two varieties we grow, ‘Waldo’ is just starting to finish up, while ‘Chester’ is just starting to fruit. The former has outstanding autumn colour, and the latter beautiful pale pink flowers just like a miniature rose. We started harvesting fruit in early November, and we’ll continue to pick at least a punnet per day of fresh, organic berries from until April, a pretty good result from four plants that take up a measly six square metres of space.
Pests and diseases aren’t very problematic with blackberries. The berries can be prone to botrytis (grey mould) in damp conditions, and blackberry rust can sometimes cause foliage to die off later in the season. Both can be controlled with a spray of copper hydroxide, but I haven’t yet bothered.
A bigger problem is birds. They enjoy the fruit as much as me, and while I consider myself a sharing kind of bloke, those semi-tame king parrots are welcome to enjoying as many wild blackberries as they like. To give them some encouragement, I throw a net over the top of the trellis, leaving the sides open for insect eating wrens and the odd grazing gardener. If you live a cool climate and have slightly acidic soil, I reckon you’d be mad not to give blackberries a try.
By: Justin Russell
First published: December 2011