Picking Your Own Raspberries
Look for berries that are slightly soft, plump, and deep in color. Raspberries are ripe when they slip off the stem and into your hand without resistance. Avoid overripe raspberries that are very soft, mushy, or moldy. Raspberries will not ripen after they are picked, so don’t pick underripe berries either. Tasting a few will help you learn what to pick!
Raspberries are fragile and require careful handling. Try not to pinch the berries as you pick them. Never pile the berries high — use shallow containers for picking and storage. Try to avoid transferring them between containers.
Protect berries from direct sunlight, especially in the car. Open car windows or run the air conditioner so there will be some air movement.
For berries that can be stored the longest, pick them early in the morning when they are dry but still cool. If berries have warmed in the field, try to get the “??field heat”?? out of the center of the container by quickly moving them to an air conditioned or refrigerated place with good air circulation. (Commercial growers pull cooled air through the flats with fans.) Using shallow containers helps this process.
When You Get Your Berries Home
- Refrigerate berries immediately. If possible, store them in the original container. Remove any damaged or moldy berries that you see, but do not sort through berries, you’ll only damage them.
- Do not wash before storing
- For best quality, use or process berries within 1-2 days.
- To wash raspberries, place in a colander in a shallow layer and swirl gently in a pan of water, then rinse under a gentle stream of water and drain well. To dry thoroughly, spread them onto paper towels.