There are 4 good ways to tell if your blueberries are ripe and ready for picking. Nothing says summer like fresh blueberries. Whether they are grown right in your own backyard or on blueberry farms. But how do you determine the harvest season and when is the best time to pick.
Blueberry bushes are one of the easiest things to add to any home garden and the best way to make sure you have fresh blueberries all summer long. Plus they taste way better than any berries you could buy in the grocery stores.
The plants themselves have beautiful leaves in the spring-fall months and cute flowers during the spring. They attract pollinators and are a great addition to landscaping. Let's not forget the best part is all the blueberry fruits.
Few things to remember when growing blueberries:
- They may not produce fruit in the first year.
- They love full sun and do best in a spot that gets 6 plus hours.
- Need at least 2 different varieties for proper pollination
- They like to grow in more acidic soil with an acid level of pH 4.0-5.0. Coffee grounds can act as a good fertilizer.
- They need well-draining soil.
- Regular pruning will keep them healthy and strong for years to come.
- They are one of the easiest fruit to grow.
- Always plant with peat moss.
Blueberries are very simple to grow. Get all the information you need to know about growing and caring for blueberries.
The blueberry season begins in early summer and can last until late summer. If the right blueberry plants are selected it is possible to have fresh berries all summer long. Be sure to plant multiple blueberry varieties that produce fresh fruit at different times of the summer. The different varieties could be early, early-mid, mid, early-late, and late summer.
About late June the berries will go through their color change process and that's when I know fresh-picked blueberries are on their way.
During the ripening process blueberries will go change from light green to pink, to light blue to finally to a dark blue color. Unripe berries will have a more tart taste and are not quite as soft. To get juicy blueberries waiting for that perfect time to pick is crucial.
How to Know When Blueberries are Ripe
Blueberry plants have been planted and are thriving and beginning to turn beautiful shades of blue. But when is the right time to pick blueberries? How do you tell when they are ripe enough? There are four easy ways that you can be sure your blueberries are ready for picking and enjoying.
Blueberry picking season has a lot to do with what gardening zone you are located in. Different climates will have berries ready and different times. Reference the United States USDA Hardiness map to determine gardening zone and blueberry season.
Typically Blueberry season can start as early as late June and continue through late August and the berries are ready will depend on each climate.
While this is a good way to know generally when they will be ready, there are so many other factors that can speed up or slow down the ripening process. Figuring out the gardening zone is a way to determine a general timeline. The next three ways will be surefire ways to tell your blueberries are ready.
Blueberries are actually not quite ready when they turn blue! While it is so tempting to pick once they "look" ripe. You need to give it a few more days so they are at their prime. Unripe blueberries will still have a blue color so it can be tempting to pick them.
When the berry develops they start out as a light pink or white color, then turn to a green and eventually into a lighter blue color. While it will be so tempting at this point, the berry will be a bit more tart in this stage. Waiting a few more days so they develop an even deeper blue is ideal.
The berry should have no other color to them. Any berry that has a tint of pink or red is simply not ready.
They Fall Right Off
When blueberries are ripe they will be really easy to harvest and will just fall away from the stem.
If the berry has to be pulled off the stem with some effort, that means they still need some time for more ripening.
Ripe blueberries are really easy to harvest and will pop right off the stems. That is one of the best ways to know they are ready to go.
When all else fails one of the best ways to test if blueberries are ready to be picked is a simple taste test. Having berries with the best texture and flavor is ultimately what the goal is. So truly the only way to know is to taste test the different shades of blue.
If the berries are too tart, wait a few more days. After a while, you will begin to tell what shade of berry suits your pallet the best.
Some larger berries will be soft and a lot juicier but can also get mushier faster if waiting too long. So by simply tasting them, you can ensure you are getting the berries with the best flavor.
Keeping a gardening journal is a great way to keep track of when the berries tend to be ready.
How to Pick Blueberries
Blueberry picking is very simple and can be a lot of fun. Once they are ready the best time of day to pick blueberries is in the early morning hours.
When blueberry picking at farms in the summer we always get fun buckets with a bag liner and rope. This allows both hands to be free to gather all the berries. You can make one for yourself or I also like to use a colander at home so they can be rinsed and enjoyed right away.
Once picked gently rinse them under cold water and remove any leaves or stems.
There are two ways to can pick them:
- Do the tickle. Place a cluster of blueberries in your hand and simply tickle them with your fingers. The ripe berries will fall of the stem.
- Hold the branch with one hand and with the other gently pick the berries off of the stem and into your palm.
Blueberries are best eaten right away but are also great for freezing. Add them to a cobbler, smoothie, or salad. Frozen berries are so great to always have on hand.
Learn more about growing blueberries and how to care for them.
Recipes for Blueberries
Other Gardening Resources.
I would love to connect! Leave me a comment below sharing all your blueberry gardening wins or struggles. Let's learn together. Or connect with me on Instagram @dirt.dough.
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