In this blog post, I am sharing my 8+ best tips and tricks for how you can pick a lot more blackberries and even faster.
Doesn’t it often seem like the best blackberries are either very high up or not within reach? If that’s you, you need my 8 best tips so that you pick more blackberries faster.
Here, in Northern California, the blackberries are exploding right now. The wild blackberries are actually pretty invasive and often called a “weed”. With their thorns, they can make picking them a frustrating and somewhat painful experience.
If you want to pick a lot of blackberries in a short amount of time, you need to check out my 8 best tips right here:
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1. Gently step on the bottom blackberry branches
The keyword here is “gently”.
Often, there are very low branches that make it difficult to get closer to berries in the bush or higher up. These lower brambles can also scratch up your ankles and legs.
For that reason, I gently step on the bottom branches. That way, they won’t sting or scratch and I can get closer into the bush.
2. Hook blackberry branches onto each other
Often, there are these very long branches that just grow out to the side. My trick here is to take those with their thorns to hook them onto another branch out of the way. This won’t hurt the blackberry bush as the wind might sweep them back or they just grow back to where they want to be. In the meantime, hooking them onto another branch opens the way to get closer into the bush and the blackberries.
3. Wear fleece to pick blackberries
You see, if you get your sleeve hooked onto some thorns, it won’t trip or tear your garment. And if you wear something black, you will not notice any potential stains from overripe blackberries.
4. Use a hands-free basket or container to pick blackberries
Personally, I love using a pretty harvest basket for blackberry picking. I line it with a red linen towel on which I don’t see stains so much. I then just hang the basket from my arm and have two hands-free for picking.
Alternatively, you can hang something from your neck or your belt. I have seen people cutting empty gallon-size milk jugs open at the bottom, leaving the cap on, and hanging it upside down from the handle. That’s pretty nifty but again, a simple basket will do.
Whatever you use, make sure you don’t need your hands to hold it.
5. Use a hook or cane to pick blackberries
I can still see my grandparents using their wooden walking canes for elderberry picking. Since I don’t have one of those, I simply use a garden hoe. It is an item I already have. I don’t like to buy something for single use.
If you don’t have either one, you can use anything that allows you to pull branches in closer. You can even use a wire clothes hanger, unbend it and take that with you when you’re picking blackberries.
The idea is pretty straightforward: you want to pull in those branches that are too high or too far away so that you can pick the blackberries off them. Again, make sure you have a basket or container that leaves your hands free. You will need one hand for holding the cane or garden hoe or hook and the other one for blackberry picking.
6. Look at the blackberry bush from different angles
My strategy is often to go slow and pick as many blackberries as I can. What I have found, though, is that when I walk back to where I came from, thus changing my angle, I often see blackberries I missed before.
You can even do this twice as you will be amazed at how many more blackberries you will find the more you look. I will often go back and forth at least twice to get the maximum amount of berries.
7. Look underneath blackberry leaves
This has got to be my favorite tip!
If you take the time to look for blackberries underneath their leaves you will be surprised at how many you will find. Why?
For one, if other people pick blackberries at this same bush, they don’t look underneath the leaves (until they read this article …). But even more so, birds can’t see the berries hiding underneath leaves.
So, bend your knees, crouch down a bit, and pick even more blackberries in places you never thought they were!
8. Blackberries are ripe when the bush releases them
How do you know whether you have a perfectly ripe blackberry? If you gently pull on it with 3 or 4 fingers and it comes right off, it’s ripe. If you have to pull too hard, it’s probably not ripe yet and will be pretty sour.
If the blackberry actually falls off the branch almost by itself, it might be overripe. There is nothing wrong with that. However, they often get squished by your fingers – so they go straight into my mouth. For me, that’s part of the fun of blackberry picking! More importantly, when those blackberries get squished, they don’t travel well or don’t keep well because they are, well squished. They tend to spoil faster than the ones that are still all intact.
9. Bonus tip: Don’t pick blackberries near the ground
Even though it can be tempting to pick the blackberries that are close to the ground, I tend to leave those alone. Why? Well, if you’re picking blackberries by popular paths in suburban neighborhoods as I often am, dogs tend to pee on them.
And even if you’re picking blackberries in very remote areas, there could be foxes or other critters that come by and leave their fur or urine on them. Again, I just leave those and focus on the berries that are higher off the ground.
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