Exploring the Art of Gathering Fresh Blackberries: Tips and Techniques


September is the best time to go blackberry-picking, as this is when the berries are fully ripe and ready to be harvested. Blackberries are a delicious fruit that grow on thorny bushes, and picking them can be a fun and rewarding experience. However, there are a few questions you may have before venturing out to pick blackberries for the first time. In this article, we will provide you with tips and information on how to pick blackberries and preserve them for later use.

Before you head out to the blackberry farm or the wild to pick blackberries, it’s important to know how to recognize ripe berries. Ripe blackberries are dark in color, plump, and easily detach from the plant when lightly tugged. If the berries are still red or hard, it means they are not fully ripe yet and should be left on the plant to mature.

To minimize the risk of getting pricked by the thorns, it is recommended to wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves and gloves. Additionally, bringing along a bucket or container to collect the berries and a pair of scissors or clippers to cut the stems is also recommended.

Once you have gathered your blackberries, you can choose to use them fresh, or you can preserve them for later use. There are various methods for preserving blackberries, including freezing, canning, making jams, jellies, and even pickling them. In the directions below, we will provide you with information on two popular methods: freezing and using blackberries for making jelly.

Freezing blackberries is a simple and convenient way to preserve them. First, you need to wash the berries thoroughly and remove any stems or leaves. Then, spread them out on a baking sheet and freeze them for a few hours. Once frozen, transfer the berries to a freezer bag or container and store them in the freezer until ready to use.

To make blackberry jelly, you will need about 350 grams of ripe blackberries, as well as sugar, pectin, and lemon juice. After preparing the blackberries by washing and removing any stems, you can follow the directions on a jelly-making recipe that you find in a cookbook or online. Ball’s “Blue Book Guide to Preserving” is a recommended resource for preserving fruits and vegetables.

Whether you prefer to pick blackberries for immediate consumption or for preserving, the experience of blackberry-picking is always a great one. It’s a chance to connect with nature, explore the outdoors, and enjoy the sweet and tangy taste of fresh blackberries. So grab your equipment and follow the directions above to have a successful blackberry-picking season!

“Blackberries ripen from July to September, and this is the best time to pick them. The berries are easy to harvest – either they fall into your hand with a gentle tug or they are not yet ripe and remain attached to the plant. Dead or overripe berries are either white or dull red, rather than the shiny black of ripe berries, so it is easy to avoid getting any useless ones. If you do manage to pick a lot of dead berries, it is recommended that you plant them in your garden” – “Blackberries: Getting to Know, Grow, and Use” (2016) – Paperback

How to Pick Blackberries Tips for Minimizing Pricks Getting the Most from Your Harvest

Picking blackberries can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be a prickly one. Here are some tips for minimizing pricks and getting the most out of your blackberry harvest.

Choose the right time to pick blackberries:

Blackberries are best picked when they are fully ripe. Look for berries that are deep black in color and easily come off the vine when gently pulled. Avoid picking unripe or overripe berries as they may not have the best flavor.

Protect your fingers:

Blackberry bushes can be quite thorny, so it’s important to protect your fingers. Consider wearing gloves or using a berry picking tool to minimize the risk of prickles.

Support the canes:

Blackberry canes can become heavy with berries, causing them to bend or break. Install a trellis or other support system to keep the canes upright and prevent damage.

Bring the right equipment:

When going blackberry picking, bring a container or basket to hold your harvest. A shallow container works best, as blackberries can be easily damaged when piled on top of each other. You may also want to bring a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water, as blackberry picking can be hot work.

Know how to pick:

Gently grasp the blackberry between your thumb and forefinger and give it a slight twist. If the berry doesn’t come off easily, it may not be fully ripe. Leave it on the vine and try another. Be careful not to squeeze the berry too hard, as they can stain your fingers.

Care for your harvest:

After picking, promptly remove any leaves, stems, or other debris from your berries. You can also drain them on a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Store your blackberries in the fridge in a breathable container, such as a shallow bowl or a plastic container with holes, to help prevent molding. Alternatively, you can freeze your blackberries for later use.

Getting the most from your harvest:

If you’ve managed to collect more blackberries than you can eat, there are various ways to utilize your harvest. Some options include making blackberry jam, pie, cobbler, or adding them to smoothies. You can also can your blackberries for longer-term storage. There are numerous recipes and books available that provide detailed instructions on how to can blackberries and other fruits.


When picking blackberries, always respect the landowner’s rights. If you are picking on private property or on a farm, ask for permission before picking. If the blackberries are wild and growing on public land, they are generally free for anyone to pick.

Choosing the best site for planting:

If you’d like to grow your own blackberries, choose a site that gets plenty of sunshine and good drainage. Blackberries can be easy to grow and are available in thornless varieties, making them a great addition to any garden.

Picking Blackberries

In the wild, blackberries can be found growing abundantly during the peak season, which typically occurs from early summer to early fall. If you are interested in picking blackberries, it is important to have the right information and supplies on hand.

One of the best sources of information on blackberries is books. There are many books available that provide valuable tips and guidance on how to pick blackberries, as well as how to preserve them through canning or making jams and jellies.

When picking blackberries, it is important to be careful of the thorns. Some varieties of blackberries are thornless, which makes picking much easier and safer. However, even thornless varieties can sometimes have smaller thorns, so it is best to wear gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself.

It is also important to pick blackberries when they are fully ripe. Ripe blackberries are deep black in color, plump, and easily detach from the stem with a gentle pull. Avoid picking blackberries that are still red or hard as they will not ripen further after being picked.

Blackberries can be picked using either a bucket or a ball. Using a bucket is the best option if you plan to pick a large quantity of blackberries, while using a ball is a good choice for smaller amounts.

After picking blackberries, it is best to store them in a cool and dry place. Do not wash the berries until you are ready to use them to prevent them from becoming mushy. If you are not planning to use the blackberries immediately, they can be preserved by canning or freezing them.

If you have any questions about picking blackberries or any issues you may encounter while picking, there are many resources available to help you. You can find answers to frequently asked questions and get further guidance on blackberry picking from websites, forums, and social media groups dedicated to blackberries.

In conclusion, picking blackberries can be a fun and rewarding activity, especially when you have the right knowledge and supplies. Remember to be careful of thorns, wear protective clothing, and pick ripe blackberries for the best flavor. With proper picking and storage techniques, you can enjoy delicious blackberries throughout the season and even preserve them for later use.

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Picking blackberries is a fun and rewarding activity that many people enjoy. The fresh and juicy berries are perfect for eating right off the vine, or they can be used to make delicious jams, jellies, and pies. Whether you pick them for snacking or for baking, blackberries are a versatile fruit that can be enjoyed in many different ways.

Blackberry bushes can be found growing wild in many areas, making it easy to find a picking spot. If you don’t have access to wild blackberries, you can also grow your own by planting blackberry bushes in your garden. September is the best time to plant blackberries, as this gives them enough time to establish their roots before the winter months.

When picking blackberries, you’ll need some basic equipment. A pair of gloves will help protect your hands from thorns, and a sturdy basket or container will be needed to hold your harvest. It’s also a good idea to bring along some pruning shears to help you navigate through the bushes and reach the berries that are just out of reach.

When picking blackberries, look for berries that are fully ripe. They should be deep black in color and easily come off the stem when gently pulled. Be careful not to pick berries that are still red or pink, as these will not ripen further once picked.

Blackberries will stain your hands and clothes, so it’s a good idea to wear old clothes and bring a towel with you to wipe your hands. If you do get berry stains on your clothes, pre-treating them with a stain remover or soaking them in cold water can help remove the stains.

After you’ve picked your blackberries, you can either eat them fresh, freeze them for later use, or use them to make delicious blackberry recipes. If you choose to freeze them, be sure to wash and drain the berries well before spreading them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, you can transfer the berries to a freezer bag or container for long-term storage.

Whether you’re a seasoned blackberry picker or a beginner, there’s always something new to learn about this delightful fruit. Blackberry festivals are frequently held in many areas, offering a chance to learn more about blackberries and enjoy fun activities like blackberry pie-eating contests and live music performances.

So, if you’re looking for a fun and tasty way to spend a sunny day, why not go blackberry-picking? The experience of being out in nature, plucking ripe berries off the vine, is a great way to connect with the seasons and enjoy the best that nature has to offer.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.