Here at Justus Orchard, we grow thornless Navaho Blackberries that are sweet and easy to pick. We are open for U Pick Blackberries 7 days a week starting early July; exact dates are subject to weather conditions that year. Keep reading for some wonderful Blackberry Health facts and picking and storing tips!
Blackberries are plump blue/purple berries that can be picked off bushes or trailing vines in the summer months. Although blackberries are good for the whole season, berries picked at the beginning of the season provide the best selection. Later in the season, blackberries can become smaller and less fully developed, but still juicy.
Not only do blackberries have a mouth-watering taste, they’re also appealing to your health. For the best health benefits and the lowest calorie intake, reduce the amount of added sugar and whipped topping. Recent research finds eating berries can stave off the cognitive decline and memory loss with age by enjoying 2 or more servings per week. Along with this health benefit, there are many other benefits to this plump blue/purple berry:
Although you may want to pick extra blackberries for later use, it is important to freeze the leftover blackberries quickly after picking due to their short shelf life. There are a handful of ways to freeze blackberries:
Select fully ripe, firm berries. Wash carefully in cold water, discarding soft, under-ripe or defective fruit.
Syrup Pack – Pack berries into containers and cover with cold 40-50% syrup, depending on the sweetness of fruit. Leave headspace. Seal and freeze.
Sugar Pack – Gently mix ¾ cup sugar with 1 quart (11/3 pounds) berries. Fill containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
Dry Pack – Pack berries into the container, leaving headspace. Berries can also be frozen on a tray and then packed into containers as soon as they are frozen. Seal and freeze.
As well as other fruits, blackberries need to be washed, drained before being consumed, and covered and stored in the refrigerator afterward. Enjoy blackberries by:
Recheck your berries after arrival to your home and discard any berries with signs of decay, mold, or other spoilage. Blackberries have a short shelf life, so use them within a couple of days of picking.
A ripe blackberry is a 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.
Don’t overfill your containers or try to pack the berries down.
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.
DON’T wash the berries until you are ready to use 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 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.
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 or freeze them for future use.