How to sweeten blueberries

Contents

Blueberry Picking Tips, Canning Directions and Facts about Blueberries

Crops are great this year, all over – no late frost!

Blueberries are one of the easiest fruit to prepare and serve. There’s no peeling, pitting, coring or cutting. They have few natural pests, (other than birds), so pesticides are generally unnecessary! This year’s crop is fantastic (see related news story), thanks both to the weather and to more farms planting more blueberry bushes due to increased consumer demand over the past few years as more studies proclaim the anti-oxidant and other health properties of blueberries.

If you are looking for information about a similar berry, the saskatoon (also called the June berry or Serviceberry) see this page about saskatoons.

Picking tips:

Select plump, full blueberries with a light gray-blue color. A berry with any hint of red isn’t fully ripened. White and green colored blueberries will not ripen after they are picked; while blueberries that have already turned purple, red or blue-ish usually DO ripen after they are picked (if they are kept at room temperature to ripen).

Since blueberries hang on the bushes in bunches a but like grapes do, the easiest and fastest way to pick them is hold your bucket under them in one hand and with your other hand, cup a ripe bunch and gently rub them with your fingers. The ripe berries will drop into your bucket, while the unripe ones will remain attached to the bush.

When the bushes are at peak, I can easily pick 2 gallons per hour (if I’m not being distracted by the kids and the sun isn’t too hot!). A newbie might do 1 gallon per hour.and at the beginning or end of the season it takes more time as the berries are not as plentiful nor concentrated in clusters.

Tips for storing blueberries after harvesting:

  • Once picked, don’t place the berries, still warm from the sun, in a closed bag or container. Leave the container open so moisture doesn’t form in the container.
  • Don’t wash berries until just before using, to prevent berries from becoming mushy.
  • Chill berries soon after picking to increase shelf life. Store your fresh blueberries in the refrigerator as soon as you get them home, without washing them, in a covered bowl or storage container. If refrigerated, fresh-picked blueberries will keep 10 to 14 days.
  • Freeze berries in freezer containers without washing to keep the skins from toughening. Place berries one layer deep. Freeze, then pour the frozen berries into freezer containers. Because unwashed blueberries freeze individually, they can be easily poured from containers in desired amounts. Remember both frozen and fresh berries should be rinsed and drained just before serving. Just before using, wash the berries in cold water.

Blueberry Measurements and Conversions

Keep in mind that blueberries vary considerably in density and moisture content, so these ranges are approximates.

  • 1 gallon of blueberries weighs about 7.5 lbs or (4 liters of blueberries is about 3.5 kg)

  • 1 pint of fresh blueberries weights about 3/4 of a pound. (1 liter of blueberries is about 700 grams)

  • 1 pound of fresh blueberries is usually between about 2 and 3 cups of berries.

  • It takes about 4 cups (about of blueberries to make a blueberry pie (see this fantastic and easy blueberry pie recipe)

  • A normal batch of blueberry preserves, jam or jelly requires 5 pints of berries.

  • Blueberries do come in a variety of sizes from small (190-250 berries per cup) to extra large (<90 berries per cup).

Where are blueberries grown (commercially)?

As much as you may wish to drive out on summer Saturday to pick blueberries, not all areas can grow them commercially. 38 states grow blueberries commercially, but 10 of these states dominate and produce more than 98% of U.S. commercial production: California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington. British Columbia in Canada also produces highbush blueberries.

Here are the most recent statistics of the 13 largest blueberry growing states, in order, in 1000’s of pounds of annual blueberry production (from the USDA)

  1. Washington 103,950 lbs
  2. Oregon 96,900
  3. Georgia 84,000
  4. Michigan 73,100
  5. California 62,150 M
  6. North Carolina 49,500
  7. New Jersey 48,600
  8. Florida 24,800
  9. Mississippi 5,800
  10. New York 1,720
  11. Indiana 1,600
  12. Arkansas 520
  13. Alabama 500

Blueberries by another name – Similar berries

While blueberries are native to North America, there are other very similar berries in other countries and even in North America. Here are some that are similar and can generally be substitutes in cooking, baking, pies, etc:

  • Saskatoons – common to western Canada and the northwest of the U.S . Larger, a bit less sweet; almost identical to a Huckleberry.
  • Bilberries – smaller cousins of the blueberry in Europe
  • Huckleberries – larger blue berries, a bit less sweet, common to the northern US and Canada
  • Whorlberry or whortleberry grown in the United Kingdom. Much like a bilberry.
  • Bblaeberry in Scotland and Ireland, smaller, intense flavor; like a bilberry-

Blueberry Varieties

See this page for information about many, many types and varieties of blueberries, including when they typically ripen.

Blueberry Facts

  • Blueberries are ranked No. 1 in antioxidant activity compared with 40 other commercially available fruits and vegetables. That means a serving of blueberries has more of the antioxidant power you need to fight aging, cancer and heart disease.
  • Put this in your pipe! Indians in the Northwest Territory smoked wild blueberries to preserve them for the winter. (Bet you didn’t know that!)
  • Want to grow your own blueberries? Here’s an article about how to: Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden, HYG-1422-98
  • Weights and measures: 1 cup of blueberries normally weighs about 143 grams, which about 1/3 of a pound, so 1 pound of blueberries is almost 3 cup’s worth. Of course, this can vary considerably based on the variety, weather conditions and degree of ripeness. Typically, many recipes call for 3 to 4 cups of blueberries for a 9 inch pie.
  • Nutrition and miscellaneous facts: 1 cup (143 grams) of blueberries is 84 calories (technically, kcal). Blueberries contain no cholesterol or fat and are also low in calories. Blueberries are high in dietary fiber, Vitamin A and niacin. They contain iron and other trace minerals and are a fair source of Vitamin C. Blueberries have a diverse range of micronutrients, with notably high levels (relative to respective Dietary Reference Intakes) of the essential dietary mineral manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber (table below). One serving provides a relatively low glycemic load score of 4 out of 100 per day.
    Especially in wild species, blueberries contain anthocyanins, other antioxidant pigments and various phytochemicals possibly having a role in reducing risks of some diseases, including inflammation and different cancers. Blueberries may have anti-disease effects, too. Researchers have shown that blueberry anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, flavonols, and tannins inhibit mechanisms of cancer cell development and inflammation in vitro. Similar to red grape, some blueberry species contain in their skins significant levels of resveratrol, a phytochemical with increasing evidence as an anti-cancer compound.

Blueberry nutritional information

One serving size of fresh blueberries is equal to one cup, or 140 grams. This contains 80 calories, with no fat, cholesterol or sodium. One serving also contains 5 grams of dietary fiber, 19 grams of total carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein.

Blueberry nutritional values, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 60 kcal 240 kJ

Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Recipes

  • The world’s best Blueberry pie, recipe and directions and illustrated!
  • Blueberry buckle coffee cake: illustrated directions for this great crumb-topping blueberry coffee cake
  • Other easy directions to make blueberry desserts: cobblers, etc.

Canning, freezing and other blueberry recipes:

  • How to Freeze Blueberries
  • How to Can Blueberries
  • How to Make Homemade Blueberry Jam
  • How to make blueberry jelly
  • How to make and can blueberry syrup (it works for strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, too)
  • blueberry pie filling to use later,
  • blueberry butter

Baking tips

If you have trouble with blueberries settling to the bottom of muffins and blueberry breads, try one or more of these tips:

  • Coat them with flour before adding to the batter. Just gently shake the blueberries in a bag (plastic or paper) with 1/2 cup of flour, then dump them mix in a sieve to remove excess flour.
  • It may just be that your batter is too thin. try making the batter a little thicker!
  • Fill the muffin cups or baking pan up to 1/4 full with batter (which hasn’t had blueberries added to it yet); then stir the blueberries into the remaining batter, and continue to fill the muffin cups or bread pan. The blueberries will start off higher in the mix!

Blueberry Festivals

The US Highbush Blueberry Council hasn’t updated their blueberry festivals page in 2 years, so I researched, added to, updated it, and put the current information on a new page –

Blueberry Questions and Answers

Q. How do I remove blueberry stains on clothes?

Rinse fresh stains immediately in cold water. Soak any more difficult stains in a solution of 1 Tbsp. vinegar in 1 quart (or 1 liter) of warm water.
Tide Laundry Detergent recommends soaking the stained article for up to 30 minutes in 1 gallon of water with 1/2 scoop dry Tide with Bleach or 1/2 measuring ladle of liquid Tide with bleach. in a plastic bucket. Keep the clothing submerged by placing a white towel on top of it. Discard the soaking solution prior to laundering.

Q. We would like to purchase some blueberry plants and plant them this November. Where can we purchase some nice size plants ?

A. There are 4 options:
1. Local nursery
2. Mail order
3. Big box store (Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart)
4. Free shoots dug from a neighbors plants

Being shallow rooted, blueberry bushes are constantly sending shoots off the side roots. These well started planted shoots can be dug with a generous portion of root and replanted. Just be sure: get plenty of root, mulch and fertilize annually and water sufficiently, especially the first year. Replant in late fall or early winter. Cut off about 1/3 of the shoot so the root system matches the top. Find a friend with a blueberry patch and help yourself!
I’ve been very disappointed with the blueberry bushes I ordered from mail order nurseries; the plants were tiny (6 inches or so). The ones at my local Wal-Mart usually looked pretty pathetic. In my experience, Lowes and Home Depot usually have big (2 ft tall) healthy plants that are suited to your local climate. Beware mislabeled plants – I’ve purchased plants from big box stores which were not the variety on the label, although that was peaches and apples, not blueberries.

The local nurseries often have nice stock, but my local nursery’s prices were pretty high, unless I wait for an end of season sale.. I’ve been happy with the one’s at Lowe’s and Home Depot!

Q. My Mom always told me to put my freshly picked blueberries into a bowl of water. She said the ones that float have bugs in them or are bad. How can I tell if this is true?

A. That’s just an old wives’ tale. Some float because they are less dense, which may be due to a variety of causes, only rarely because a bug is inside. The only pest I’ve heard of getting inside a blueberry is the blueberry maggot, larvae of Spotted Wing Drosophila, which affects some plants in the north eastern US and parts of Canada.

Here are the methods to detect the presence of the pest in blueberries, according to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture

Methods for Detecting Blueberry Maggot Larvae in Blueberry Fruit

Hot Water Test

  1. Place 1 litre (2 pints) of berries in pot.
  2. Nearly cover the berries with water.
  3. Bring berries and water to a frothy boil and boil for at least 1 minute.
  4. Empty berries into a 4-mesh-per-inch screen.
  5. Gently crush berries in screen with the back of a spoon.
  6. Rinse berries with cold running water and collect water and solids in a pan with a black bottom.
  7. Allow the debris to settle and Decant floating solids and most of the water.
  8. Repeat washing and Decanting until water is clear.
  9. White maggots will be visible against the black bottom of the pan.

Brown Sugar Test

Sugar concentration = 2 lbs (1 kg) brown sugar per 1.2 gallons (5 litres) of water.

  1. Place 1 litre (2 pints) of berries in a 4-litre (1 gallon) container.
  2. Gently crush berries in container.
  3. Add sugar concentrate to 3 cm above crushed berries.
  4. Agitate crushed berries in sugar solution.
  5. Allow maggots to float to surface.

My Blueberries Are Sour: How To Sweeten Sour Blueberries

When you pop fresh-picked blueberries into your mouth expecting sweet, delicious fruit, then sour blueberry fruit is a great disappointment. Unless you’ve selected tart berry cultivars, altering your care and harvest of blueberries may solve the problem. Read on to learn why blueberries are sour and what to do with sour blueberries.

What Makes Blueberries Sour?

The first thing to do when garden blueberries are sour is to determine the characteristics of the cultivar you have chosen. With hundreds of types of blueberries available, the cultivar fruit taste can vary from tart to sweet. If your bushes are intended to produce tart or sour fruit, you may want to select new cultivars.

A common cause of sour blueberry fruit is over-production on a bush. If your bush is newly planted, you’ll get sweeter, bigger berries if you remove all blossoms for the first year or two to allow the root system to establish. Even mature blueberry bushes can over produce some years and, if left to their own devices, produce abundant but sour fruit. Keep your eye on buds and thin back when needed.

Let your berries ripen on the bush. It is not a good idea to pick berries early. Even if you can get sour blueberry fruit to soften by storing them beside apples or bananas, they will not sweeten any further. If blueberries are sour when picked, they will remain so. You can’t sweeten sour blueberries once you take them from the bush.

Try eating a few berries before beginning your harvest and remember that all berries do not ripen simultaneously. Even in one cluster, some may be ripe and some unripe. Identify unripe berries by the reddish hue, but even solid blue berries need to stay on the bush for a few days before they develop true sweetness.

Waiting is a good way to sweeten sour blueberries. Blueberries can remain on the bush for 10 days after they begin to ripen, so don’t be in a hurry. The fruit size and sweetness increases very quickly as the end of the ripening process.

Ensuring that your blueberry plants are grown in acidic soil and keeping them fertilized annually will also help to sweeten the blueberries.

What to Do With Sour Berries

If you’ve already harvested your blueberry fruit, you may be asking what to do with sour berries that haven’t fully ripened. Placing the berries in a paper bag and storing in a cool place will allow the fruit to ripen. If you add an apple, banana or avocado to the bag, the berries ripen more quickly.

Keep in mind that this will soften immature berries, but it will not sweeten sour berries. If you want to cook with the berries, just add extra sugar or honey.

Do Blueberries Ripen Off The Vine new post

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    How to Quickly Ripen A Pumpkin

    Pumpkins will ripen faster in direct sunlight, so prune anything blocking the sun from hitting the fruit. I pulled up the roots to stop any new growth and dry the vine. Once the stem of the … Soil: Blueberries like very acidic soil, with a soil pH in the rage of 4.0 to 4.5. They also like soil rich in organic matter. If your garden has heavy clay soil, blueberries will fare better in raised beds. To get the right soil pH for growing blueberries, it’s best to amend the soil the season before you intend to plant. Garden sulfur or …

    Picking Blueberries – How And When To Harvest Blueberry Bushes

    When harvesting blueberries, choose those that are blue all the way around the berry – white and green blueberries do not ripen further once they are picked. Berries with any blush of red are not ripe, yet may ripen further once picked if kept at room temperature. That said though, you really want to only pick ripe gray-blue berries. The … Select plump, full blueberries with a light gray-blue color. A berry with any hint of red isn’t fully ripened. White and green colored blueberries will not ripen after they are picked; while blueberries that have already turned purple, red or blue-ish usually DO ripen after they are picked (if they are kept at room temperature to ripen). Physalis pruinosa is a frost sensitive plant, obviously, but if there’s going to be frost tonight,do not pick your ground cherries – cover them with a tarpaulin or something to keep the frost off, lift it tomorrow, and replace and lift each night if its going to be frosty, until your ground cherries are fully ripe and falling off the plant.

    Blueberry Fruit Will Not Ripen – Why Are My Blueberries …

    So you?ve planted some blueberries and are anxiously awaiting your first harvest, but the blueberry fruit will not ripen. Why are your blueberries not ripening? There are a number of reasons for blueberry fruit that will not ripen. Learn more in this article. How to Ripen a Cantaloupe. For the best flavor, make sure that cantaloupes ripen on the vine. You can ripen this melon off the vine for a few extra days to further improve the color, texture, and juiciness of the fruit, though. Check the… Thanks for the A2A Most of these answers are spot on…with the concepts. But a major point is missed. A strawberry is not a fruit. A bit of physiology. Real fruit are either non-climacteric or climacteric. If harvested when mature enough but not ri…

    Which Fruit Will Not Ripen When Picked? | Garden Guides

    Climacteric fruits continue to ripen after they’re picked, giving off ethylene through pores in their skin as they do. The respiration rate of ethylene in non-climacteric fruits either remains the same or declines slowly after they are picked until they begin to deteriorate. The first thing I do when I bring berries home is remove them from their cartons, rinse them off and let them air dry. This way they’re ready to eat. This is also the time you should inspect for any bad berries that need to be tossed or badly bruised & overly ripe berries that need to be eaten right away.

    Will Blueberries Ripen if Picked Early? | Home Guides | SF …

    If blueberries are picked early, you still may be able to ripen them. When to Harvest Blueberries are ready for harvest between late July and the middle of August. You may have purchased green bananas simply because you knew that ripe bananas would turn mushy before you got a chance to eat them all. Makes perfect sense and the banana was probably the first fruit that was harvested and then shipped in a green state, after it was discovered that they would ripen off the tree. How long do blueberries last? The shelf life of blueberries depends when the blueberries were picked and how they are stored. Blueberries are a delicious fruit best in the spring and summer when they are fresh off the blueberry plant.

    Do Blueberries Ripen After They Are Picked? | FoodAnswers.org

    Some fruits and vegetables, such as bananas and apples, will continue to ripen after they are picked, while other do not. This can be important information to know if you are growing or picking your own fruits, since you’ll want to know when you can pick them in order to have the longest possible window of time to use them. How to Ripen Fruit at Home Faster – as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. I am Clifford A. Wright, and I am the author of over thirteen cookbooks. You have probably noticed when you have been … How Tomatoes Ripen and When to Pick Them Q: I’ve been hearing you talk about tomatoes splitting as a response to heavy rain following dry times. Does this debunk the theory that the fruits stop taking in nutrition after ripening has started?

    How to Tell Blueberries Are Ripe | Hunker

    Since blueberries grow in clusters, not all of the berries will ripen at the same time. In fact, you can have one cluster containing both green and ripe fruit. Unlike some fruits, blueberries will not ripen after you pick them, so you must wait until the berries fully ripen before harvesting. My neighbor brought over a fresh batch of blueberries. Some are sweet and some are sour. He told us to come over and pick some whenever we wanted, but I don’t know the right time to pick them so that they taste the best.

    How to Ripen Blackberries Quicker | DoItYourself.com

    Although they are not as firm and resistant as blueberries, the blackberry offers a sweet taste and texture and has a number of health benefits as well. Unfortunately, blackberries do not keep particularly well and should be enjoyed at their ripest. This often means that you will have to accelerate the ripening process yourself. ripen off vine; 1 answer. will lemons continue to ripen after picked. asked Oct 31, 2013 by anonymous | 218 views. ripen off vine; picked too early; Welcome to InTheYard.org. Please ask and answer yard and garden questions and help build a great gardening community. Categories. All categories; Most popular tags. please help how to take care of yellowing leaves best time to prune how do i get … There are so many blueberry varieties available that it can become confusing to know whether you have plants that will fruit for the entire blueberry season. This chart should help you choose varieties and fill in any blank areas you have. Blueberry Ripening Chart

    Do blueberries continue to ripen after being picked – Answers

    An orange does not continue to ripen after being picked. You might have heard they ripen quicker in the dark because in tropical areas it takes a cool night for the vivid color to set in. However … Blueberries are typically ready for picking between June and August. Don’t rush to pick the berries as soon as they turn blue. Wait a couple days. When they are ready, they should fall off right into your hand. If you plant 2-year-old blueberry bushes, they should start to bear within a year or two. (Pick off any flowers that form the first … Why do grape berries turn black and shrivel up in summer, even before they ripen? Black rot, caused by the fungus Guignardia bidwellii , consistently destroys grapes, especially during wet seasons. Although black rot is the most common, other grape diseases such as bitter rot, ripe rot, and anthracnose can also cause fruits to turn black and shrivel up.

    What Fruits Ripen Off The Vine? – Snippets

    Pears and peaches ripen off the vine, but only if they are not picked too early. Bananas also ripen off the vine, and they can be picked while they are still quite green. Avocados and tomatoes (yes, they are both fruits! ) ripen off the vine; in fact, an avocado will only finish ripening after it is picked. Some fruit ripens off of the vine, but only in that it gets softer, more colorful, and more juicy — not sweeter. This includes blueberries, figs, most stone fruit, and melons (not of the water variety). But we’ll take soft figs over not soft figs any day.

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    When fruit is ripe it has maximum sweetness and flavour. And the more we know about how our favourite fruits mature and ripen, the better we can indulge in peak deliciousness. It’s easy to forget which fruits improve after picking and those that do not—I’m looking at you, oranges! A sour orange is not going to suddenly sweeten off the … Grapes, unlike many other fruits, will not ripen any further once you pick them from the vine. This means you must ripen the grapes fully before you pick them. Otherwise, you will be stuck with sour, hard grapes that will not please your palate. You cannot control the speed at which grapes ripen, but you can do a few things to help speed the …

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    They look wonderful. I have never raised blueberries, but I know strawberries and raspberries always ripen more after picking, so I guess it would make sense that blueberries do to. I would love to raise blueberries eventually. Hugs & Blessings, Brenda —– White and green colored blueberries will not ripen after they are picked; while blueberries that have already turned purple, red or blue-ish usually DO ripen after they are picked (if they are kept at room temperature to ripen). See blueberry care tips on our web site. To pick ripe berries, take a cluster in one hand and gentle roll your thumb over the berries. The ripe berries will fall off …

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    Apples give off a natural etheylene gas that ripens other fruits quickly. Place the container in a cool dark place, such as a cellar or basement. Allow the blackberries only 24 hours to ripen. Blackberries by nature are very soft and you do not want them to become too ripe or they will get squishy and bleed. Description: Blueberries are picked several times as the fruit ripens with 2 to 5 pickings. Often the first harvest is by hand and then later by machines that shake berries off the bush. 75% blue often coincides with the first of 2 machine harvests in the field. Plant part: Shoot. Because wild blueberries grow on their own, they are a low-maintenance crop. Field owners are hands-off throughout most of the growing season, although they often introduce bees to naturally pollinate the bushes. Wild blueberries have a two-year crop cycle, so owners prune fields every other year with rotary mowers. 2. Characteristics

    When Do Raspberries Ripen? | Home Guides | SF Gate

    What to Look For. You do not want to pull raspberries from the plant if they are not ripe enough; the sweet juices will not be developed enough to provide a good flavor. Ancient records show the Sumerians and Assyrians in southern Arabia knew of figs and the fruit appears in the Bible as well. Figs are a nutritional powerhouse, with a low fat content and high fiber, calcium and iron. Grown properly, fig trees are extremely prolific and can produce hundreds of fruits.

    Which Fruits and Vegetables Continue to Ripen After …

    The health benefit of whole molecule C is tremendous. See book “The Calcium Lie II” by Dr. Robert Thompson, MD. He said oranges do not ripen after picked and therefore are vine ripened by definition, and has a very high whole molecule C. Fruit that is ripened after picked, has a very low content of whole molecule C. Cantaloupe as well as watermelons, squash, and cucumbers will not ripen once they have been pulled from the vine. A lot of the cantaloupes that you see in the supermarket are essentially inedible because of the fact that they are too green and have been plucked from the vine too early. As they ripen, tomatoes and other botanical fruits let off a gas called ethylene. The more ethylene they’re around, the more they’ll ripen. So putting the not ripe tomatoes in a situation where they’re around more ethylene is the key to ripening them further.

    How do you ripen blueberries – Answers

    How do you ripen blueberries? We need you to answer this question! If you know the answer to this question, please register to join our limited beta program and start the conversation right now! Hello Isabella, and welcome to the Vine. Mine have all ripened and been eaten but, although I don’t know where you are, I guess I am much further south than you. If you can move them, try putting them in full sun for a couple of days. Once they start to turn, they go blue quite quickly. White and green colored blueberries are not ripe, leave them on the bush or in the store as they will not ripen. Blueberries that have turned purple, red or blue-ish may ripen after they are picked. Do not expose picked blueberries to sun or heat in closed bags or containers. Blueberries are fragile and heating them up will shorten how long …

    Fruits that ripen/don’t ripen after picking: about_food …

    I came across this list of fruits that can ripen and those that don’t ripen after they are picked. I thought it was pretty handy and there were a couple I didn’t know. Fruits That Don’t Ripen Cherries Citrus (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit) Cucumbers Grapes Pineapples Pomegranates Soft berries… How to Pick Blueberries. Blueberry picking is a fun (and usually cheap) way to get blueberries. However, you don’t want to stand in the hot sun for hours picking berries and then have them come out too mushy or too sour after all your hard…

    Do fruits get sweeter as they ripen off the vine? – Quora

    Some can get sweeter as they ripen off the vine, tree, or shrub, but generally a fruit doesn’t get as sweet compared to the fruit that is ripen on the vine. Also depending on when they get picked can also influence how sweet it well get. The more … Watch this video to tour a blueberry farm with The Chew! Have you ever wondered to yourself, “How do blueberries grow?” Botanically speaking, blueberries (genus Vaccinium) are part of a plant family that includes the flowering azalea, mountain laurel and heather-plants.

    When Do Wild Blackberries Ripen? | Hunker

    When blackberries ripen depends partly on the climate. Across the U.S., blackberries ripen from around June to August. In warmer climates, blackberries are usually ready to eat in June, while in cooler climates you have to wait until July or August before the blackberries turn ripe. If you want to ripen your mangoes quickly, then do the following: It is a fact that ethylene gas contributes to fruit ripening. Therefore, place unripe mangoes in a paper bag with fruits that emit a high concentration of ethylene gas such as apples, bananas, pears, passion fruit and avocados at a warmer place like kitchen.

    Do gooseberries continue to ripen after picking?

    Do gooseberries continue to ripen after picking? left a few lying in the kitchen for a few days whilst i decided what i wanted to do with them. and i swear blind they are redder than they were when i picked them! When I planted my 10 blueberries last spring, I cut off all the berries that were on them at the time (they were loaded) so that the plants could put all their energy into putting down strong root systems rather than trying to support all those berries. I do this with any fruiting tree or shrub I plant. My blueberries are just putting on their …

    Who among us hasn’t impulse-bought a carton of berries at the grocery store? Whether it was a trance-like state induced by the hum of the fluorescent lights, the promise of warmer weather, or just a crazy-low sale price, we’ve all been there. We’ve all bought supermarket strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries only to discover that they’re nothing like the sweet, market-fresh treats of high July. (If you happen to live in California, please wipe that satisfied grin off your face and FedEx us a package of berries, will you?). You’re hoping for earth candy, but what you get instead is a a somewhat hard, kinda sour, slightly astringent, and definitely not juicy taste. Eating them raw might be a little disappointing, so here are five sure-fire ways to make out-of-season or generally “meh” berries taste better.

    Sugar and fresh orange juice make these berries way better. Photo: Hirsheimer Hamilton

    Macerate Them

    Macerating—soaking or steeping in liquid and/or sweetener—is one of the easiest and fastest ways to doctor up sub-par berries. Toss them in sugar, honey, or maple syrup, along with a little fresh juice or alcohol (an herbal liqueur, like elderflower spirit, would be great). You don’t need a lot to get the berries rocking; a quarter- to a half-cup of juice or booze, and about double the amount of sugar, is all you need. Add any extra flavoring agent you like—lemon zest, bruised lemongrass, fresh mint, or ground baking spices, like cinnamon and ginger, are excellent options. Then let it all sit at room temperature for an hour (store in the fridge if waiting longer to eat). The berries will become saucy, taking on the aromatic flavors you added with the sugar. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, and you’ve got a dessert that never fails to impress. Use juice instead of alcohol, and your morning yogurt will put those store-bought “fruit on the bottom” yogurt cups to shame.

    No one will ever know these were bargain-bin blueberries. Photo: Alex Lau

    Alex LauBake with Them

    It’s science, or something: Adding sugar, eggs, and butter to anything makes it taste better. So it’s no surprise that muffins, cakes, and scones made with berries are greater than the sum of their parts. But there’s another reason that baking berries makes them taste better: Their flavors become concentrated when cooked, intensifying the sweet notes. Toss the fruit in a light dusting of flour before adding them to the batter so they become suspended in the baked good; otherwise, they’ll sink to the bottom in a big berry pile. Or, make a crisp, cobbler, or crumble. The buttery, crunchy topping is a perfect foil for sweetened, jammy, just-cooked berries.

    Sour Blackberries

    A gardener wrote in recently:

    “I have thornless blackberries bushes, but every year the berries are sour. What can i do to sweeten them up?”

    I don’t have personal experience with thornless berries, but in my research I found two common answers to this question.

    1) The berry bushes may be old and apparently there’s nothing to be done about it. Time to get new berries.

    2) It’s important to wait to harvest the berries until they are no longer shiny. They will have passed from the dark black, shiny stage into a duller black stage and should come right off the vine easily. They will be much softer at this stage as well.

    The second answer was most common in my search. As far as soil goes, here is an excerpt from Paul Vossen on Growing Blackberries in California:

    “Blackberries do best in well-drained sandy or loamy soils with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. A good supply of organic matter in the soil improves aeration and drainage and increases water-holding capacity. You may apply organic matter during the summer or fall before you plant. … If you use manure, compost or another source of organic fertilizer, apply it in the late fall or early winter. Apply approximately 50 pounds …per 100 feet of row. If the plant lacks vigor, apply an additional 1 pound of ammonium nitrate per 100 feet of row at bloom or midsummer, just prior to an irrigation. ”

    Regarding irrigation, he says:

    “Blackberries require approximately 1 to 2 inches of water per week from mid-May through October. It is best to keep the plants moist at all times without soaking and rotting the roots. Blackberries do better if the entire row is kept moist.”

    Hopefully this information will help you with your blackberry problems. Keep us posted on your next harvest.

    Thanks for writing in!

    Does anyone out there have another suggestion for this issue? Let us know!

    How can I aquire (not avoid) sour blueberries?

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    Not every blueberry is created equal — there are a lot of varieties, with different flavor profiles.

    For tart, firm berries, go for the early-season Emeralds, says Manuel Jimenez, a University of California Cooperative Extension farm adviser in Tulare County, Calif. A softer and sweeter option is the Jewel. The Reveille has lots of sweetness, while Southmoons have “the best flavor and sweetness combination,” he says.

    Enjoying all of these varieties depends on selecting good ones. Look for full, rounded berries covered with the white, powdery coating called bloom. Avoid shriveled and leaky berries.

    At home, store them in the refrigerator, and do not wash them until just before using. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for five to seven days, or you can place them in sealed plastic bags in the freezer.

    “If you’re going to freeze berries, don’t wash them before freezing,” says Kingsburg, Calif., blueberry farmer Gayle Willems. If wet, the berries will stick together and get icy. They will keep in the freezer for up to a year, but like all other frozen foods, it’s best to eat them within a few months.

    Blueberries are known for their high levels of antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage. “Ounce for ounce, blueberries provide more antioxidants than any other fresh fruit or vegetable,” Dana Jacobi writes in her “12 Best Foods Cookbook.”

    To get the most health benefits from blueberries, eat them plain and uncooked. “Heat diminishes the benefits of the phytonutrients they contain,” Jacobi writes.

    For those compelled to tinker in the kitchen, the sweet-tart flavor of blueberries works well in sweet and savory dishes. A classic combination is blueberries, lemon and mascarpone cheese, which makes an easy topping for cookies. On the less sweet side, blueberries add a fruity punch to corn bread. And with thyme, shallots and lemon juice, these little berries are a great sauce for meats.

    Blueberry-mascarpone shortbread

    Prep: 10 minutes

    Makes: about 16 cookies

    This is a versatile formula for a quick dessert. Substitute sugar cookies for shortbread, and try different flavor combinations, such as blueberries and bits of candied ginger.

    8 ounces mascarpone cheese

    1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

    1 teaspoon lemon zest, from about 2 lemons

    1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt

    16 homemade or store-bought shortbread cookies, about 2 1/2 inches wide

    6 ounces blueberries

    Combine mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar and lemon zest in a bowl. Add 1/8 teaspoon sea salt; mix well. Taste and add more salt, if necessary. Spread mascarpone mixture on cookies; top with blueberries.

    Nutrition information

    Per cookie: 155 calories, 62% of calories from fat, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 23 mg cholesterol, 13 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 86 mg sodium, 1 g fiber

    Savory blueberry sauce

    Prep: 10 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes

    Makes: 6 servings

    2 tablespoons butter

    1/4 cup minced shallots

    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme)

    1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

    2 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

    2 cups blueberries

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Freshly ground pepper

    Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; add shallots. Cook until shallots are translucent, 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, vinegar and lemon juice. Reduce heat to low; add blueberries. Cook, gently stirring, just until a few blueberries begin to release their juices. (Most of them should retain their shape.) Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pork chops or turkey cutlets.

    Nutrition information

    Per serving: 69 calories, 49% of calories from fat, 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 196 mg sodium, 1 g fiber

    Yay!!! It’s strawberry season! Strawberry season is the local kick off to a summer of great produce. Not much beats ripe, freshly picked strawberries. Everyone gets excited and a bit crazy during the first few days of the season. Demand is high and the berries are moving. In order to keep up with the craze, you’ll find that sometimes the berries are picked in haste. If you’re not picking your own, you might find a bit too many under ripe strawberries. Not so sweet and delicious.

    You know what else is not so sweet & delicious – the majority of strawberries I buy throughout the year at my local grocery stores. They look like big, bright, juicy berries – but when you taste them, well you don’t taste much 🙁

    The first thing I do when I bring berries home is remove them from their cartons, rinse them off and let them air dry. This way they’re ready to eat. This is also the time you should inspect for any bad berries that need to be tossed or badly bruised & overly ripe berries that need to be eaten right away.

    So what to do with those greenish-whitish sour strawberries. Easy. Chop up all your cleaned berries, throw them in a bowl and mix them up with some sugar. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours. The sugar and natural acidic juices from the strawberries mix and macerate/marinate the berries in sweetness. No need to make a simple syrup – the berry juices do it for you. This works best with a mixture of juicy ripe and not so ripe berries.

    That’s it. At times I feel silly stating what seems obvious to many. After having a conversation with an older woman at the grocery store today, I realized there are a lot of people who don’t know such little tricks.

    On another note, if the strawberry crop is abundant, buy up on it while it’s cheap. Strawberries freeze very well – even more so if you have a vacuum sealer.

    Okay, enough reading! Go out and get your fresh strawberries – the season doesn’t last too long!

    Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a beautiful day : )

    -Amanda-

    4 from 7 votes

    How to Sweeten Up Under Ripe or Sour Strawberries

    Under ripe Strawberries? Don’t throw them out! Use this simple trick to sweeten up those sour, white/green strawberries! Prep Time10 mins Total Time10 mins Course: Fruits Servings: 1 pound Author: Amanda

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound strawberries
    • 1 tablespoon sugar

    Instructions

    • Wash, clean, hull and cut (half or quarter) strawberries.
    • In a medium bowl, combine berries with sugar. Mix until sugar is completely dissolved.
    • Store covered in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
    • Enjoy your sweet, juicy strawberries!

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