Supermarket-bought raspberries can be expensive because they have a short shelf life and are difficult to pick. Picking is an inexpensive and enjoyable way to feast on these delicious berries. But how do you know when to pick raspberries and when the fruit is ready to harvest? Read on to learn more about raspberry picking season and harvesting.
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What are raspberries useful for
Fresh raspberries have always been good, but lately they have been praised even more because of the flavonoids (anthocyanins) that give raspberries their color. They are also a good source of vitamin C and fiber, and although they are sweet, they rank low on the glycemic index, making them an excellent choice for those who are monitoring their blood sugar levels. Other than that, they’re just plain delicious. Raspberries belong to the genus Rubus. They come in red, black and purple.
There are also yellow ones, but those are just red raspberries that lack the red pigment. Hardy varieties such as Boyne, Nova and Nordic do well in northern regions, while Dorman Red, Bababerry and Southland are more heat tolerant if you live in southern climates.
When are the fruits ready for harvest
You should pick wild raspberries or raspberries yourself from your own garden when they are completely ripe. Once picked, the berries will not ripen again. How can you tell they are ripe? The size, the color, and the ease with which they come off the vine are all signs, but the best way to find out if they are ripe is to taste them. Red raspberries can vary from light to dark red and purple from red to almost black. Some berries are difficult to pick from the vine, while others slip off easily. Once you’ve made sure you have enough ripe berries to pick, it’s time to get to work.
When to pick raspberries
For the best flavor and texture, harvest your raspberries when it’s dry and cool – when it’s not raining and ideally after the midday heat is over or as early in the morning as possible. The exact timing depends on the variety and location, but in many areas is between summer and early fall. The color of the ripe fruit should be a deep red, black, purple or gold, depending on the variety. If the berries are still soaked from dew or rain, allow them to dry before picking to reduce the risk of mold.
How to harvest the berries
The average yield per plant is 1 to 2 liters of raspberries. To harvest, grasp the berry (do not squeeze) and pull gently. If they come off the stem easily and the seed remains on the plant, the fruit is ripe. If you have many ripe berries at once, do not put the harvested fruit all in one container or you risk crushing them. Or you can place them in a shallow container so that all the berries at the bottom are not crushed by the weight of the harvest. Carefully remove all visible leaves, soil or other impurities, but do not wash the raspberries until you are ready to use them .
If stored for a short time (in the refrigerator), washing makes the berries more susceptible to spoilage. Raspberries do not ripen all at once, but after a few weeks. So if you’re not sure if a berry is ripe, let it hang on the vine for a day or two to make sure it’s fully ripe. When you are done picking, place the berries in the refrigerator unless you ate them while you were picking. Do not store the berries for more than a few days.
Freshly picked raspberries should be protected from light and placed in the refrigerator immediately after picking. It is best to harvest ripe berries every 2 to 3 days to avoid overripe and rotting fruit. Raspberries do not keep long after picking – usually 2 to 3 days at most in the refrigerator. If you can’t use your raspberry crop right away, you can carefully rinse them in cold water and let them dry.
Then place the fruit (in a single layer) on parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Place frozen raspberries in labeled and dated freezer bags to store and enjoy anytime. Frozen berries will keep for about 10 to 12 months without losing quality if stored properly.