Tips and Tricks to Harvesting, Cleaning, and Preserving Berries | SHIFTING ROOTS

Tips and Tricks to Harvesting, Cleaning, and Preserving Berries

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. . . berry picking season!!  Saskatoon berries, sour cherries, strawberries, and raspberries are all in season these next few weeks.  Before you grab your straw hat and pail (or walk down to the fruit truck, we won’t judge) here’s some little tips and tricks to make the whole process smoother.

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Planning to harvest fresh berries this summer?  Before you start canning, freezing, and preserving your berries, read this first to make the whole process easier--especially if you're a beginner! #berries #summerberries #canning #harvesting #preserving #freezing #foodstorage #preservingfood #canning101

Berry Harvesting Essentials

Berry picking is not a time to be glamourous.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll notice that I’m usually dressed nicely in my berry picking pictures.  This is purely for the camera.  I assure you I don’t go berry picking like that in real life.

Berry picking is not a time to be glamourous.Click To Tweet

You’ll want to wear a wide brimmed hat, loose long-sleeved shirt, and long pants if you’re going to be picking in the wild.  The most hard-core berry pickers (I can’t believe I just strung those words together) tie an ice cream bucket around their waist to free up both hands.

Planning to harvest fresh berries this summer?  Before you start canning, freezing, and preserving your berries, read this first to make the whole process easier--especially if you're a beginner! #berries #summerberries #canning #harvesting #preserving #freezing #foodstorage #preservingfood #canning101

Related: For the Love of Berry Picking

You’ll also want to bring a larger pail with a lid to store the berries.  The lid is key, as I have been known to cry over spilled  berries.  This way, when your pail gets too heavy, you can dump the berries into the pail with a lid.

Spilled berries are worth crying over.Click To Tweet

Finally, you’ll need sunscreen, mosquito spray, and a huge container of water.  Berry picking can take way longer than you think and it’s tempting to go for “just a few more.”  My husband has to practically drag me away sometimes.

How to Pick Fresh Berries

Picking berries isn’t very complicated.  You’ll want to avoid picking leaves, twigs, or any berry that doesn’t look ripe.

How do you know?

Generally, if it doesn’t pull off with a gentle tug, it’s not ripe.

Want to pick fruit from your own backyard?  Learn about the 28 different fruit trees you can grow in zone 2 and zone 3.

Ripe saskatoon berries

Try to “pick clean” (avoiding the things above) so that you don’t have to spend hours cleaning your berries later.  Here’s a little video I made showing you my process.

This video was originally posted on the Shifting Roots Facebook Page.  Join us there to see more like it every week.

How to Keep Saskatoon Berries, Raspberries, Sour Cherries, and Strawberries Fresh for Longer

Timing is of the essence.  Berries will quickly go bad if they aren’t dealt with soon after you pick them.  If you’re short on time, you can pop them into one of Tupperware’s Fridge Smart containers–a total lifesaver for me!  However, you really should process them as soon as possible.

Don't let your berries go bad. Learn how to pick and process them now.Click To Tweet

To keep berries lasting longer for fresh eating, wash them like the video below:

Preparing your berries for canning, freezing, or for making jams and other preserves?  Here’s how to clean them so they’ll be ready to preserve.

Saskatoon Berries & Blueberries

Dump a few of the berries out on a cookie sheet and roll them around to catch any that have been eaten by birds.  Pick out any small stems or unripe berries.  Dump the clean berries into a colander and rinse with water.  That’s it.  Store them in freezer bags or make them into beautiful jams, pies, and more!

Raspberries

Raspberries are the least forgiving of the berries.  They will mould within the day if you’re not careful.  Gently pick out any unripe or overripe raspberries and rinse with water.  Stir with a small amount of sugar and freeze.

Related: Easy Raspberry Jam and No-Churn Raspberry Chocolate Ice Cream

Strawberries

Strawberries, however, are the easiest.  Cut all the green tops off of your strawberries.  Slice them (or not), wash, and freeze.  Done!

Related: Strawberry Feta Salad and The Best Strawberry Shortcake

Sour Cherries

Sour cherries take more time because you have to pit them first.  Since you’re touching every single cherry, there’s no need to go through and look for bird-eaten and unripe ones first.  You can pit your cherries with a knife, or use a cherry pitter.

Once the cherries are clean, mix with a small amount of sugar to help keep their colour, then freeze.

Berry Picking is so much fun, but can be a lot of work. Whether you're working with saskatoon berries, strawberries, sour cherries, or raspberries, I've got plenty of little tips and tricks to help you pick, clean and process with ease. I've also included links to some tasty recipes.

Related: No-Churn Sour Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream and The Best Sour Cherry Pie

Picking and cleaning berries takes time, but is so worth the effort.  They’re wonderful to have in pancakes, jam, and desserts all year long.

What will you be making with your berries?  Any tips and tricks to share?

Pin me for later!

Planning to harvest fresh berries this summer?  Before you start canning, freezing, and preserving your berries, read this first to make the whole process easier--especially if you're a beginner! #berries #summerberries #canning #harvesting #preserving #freezing #foodstorage #preservingfood #canning101

 

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Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Grow roots with us

Kristen

Welcome!

Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!