Berry Picking Advice

  • Some raspberries, ripe for the picking. Joanne McNeal

When I was a young girl, we often went to our grandparents’ house for dinner on weekends. My grandma Alma often took us kids outside to pick berries while dinner was cooking. They had rows and rows of various kinds of berries – boysenberries, raspberries, loganberries, and blackberries. Her advice in picking berries was the same for all of these kinds of berries: “If you put your fingers softly around the berry, pull ever so gently. If it is ripe, it will pull off the whitish core into your hand easily. If it resists, it is not ripe yet, and will be sour. Don’t waste the ones that are not ripe yet. Be patient – only pull on the ones that are really full of juice and dark red (for raspberries) or almost black (for blackberries, loganberries, and boysenberries) and you will have a sweet dessert!”

She also showed us how to lift the branches up carefully. The berries get heavy as they get ripe so they hang down below the leaves. When you lift the branches up, you find all the treasured berries hiding beneath. Who knew?

I think of that advice every time I pick the raspberries around my garage. Especially with raspberries, the colour is very important. You don’t want to pick raspberries that are orange, as they are not ripe and will be sour. Pick only ones that are rosy red or dark red, for those will come off in your fingers easily, and will be sweet. I love berries and frozen yogurt for summer dessert! Now that I am a grandma myself, I pass that advice onto my grandchildren when we pick berries. And now on to you!

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