Blackberries: Where to Find Them, How to Pick Them & What to Make with Them

Blackberry season is just around the corner.
Blackberry-picking season is right around the corner. In fact, in the next several weeks, blackberries will be ready for picking at several local farmers' markets. Don't be fooled by the early berries growing on the side of the road because those are dewberries, not blackberries.

Tommy Neal from Neal's Farm & Farmers Market explains that dewberries are ripe right now and blackberries will be three weeks from now.

If the blackberries easily come off of the bush, then they are ripe.
"Taste-wise, they are almost identical," Neal says. "The amount of juice compared to the amount of seeds is drastically different."

As fun as it is to pick dewberries on the side of the road with the family, you should definitely wait a few more weeks to pick blackberries at local farmers' markets.

Rick Matt of Matt Family Orchards notes what blackberries should look like and feel like when they are ready to be picked.

"When the berry turns the color black and it becomes shiny," Matt says. "It is not a dull color. It is still firm to the touch, but all of the fruit bits are full of juice -- they are swollen. Those are the ones you want to pick."

Matt also notes that the best time to pick blackberries is in the morning. "It is cool and it is comfortable for the berry and you. It has rested all night long and it is not dehydrated," he says.

Other than just using the appearance of the blackberries to determine if they are ready to be picked, Neal suggests grabbing them a particular way when pulling them off the bush.

"You grab a blackberry, rip the blackberry and twist it 90 degrees," Neal says. "If it comes off, it is ripe; if you have to pull on it, then it is not ripe. That is how you get the sweetest berries. They just snap right off when you turn them sideways."

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