Saturday, July 03, 2010

ricklibrarian Guide to Picking Raspberries

This is high raspberry season in Downers Grove. I am out picking away every day. I probably picked four pints yesterday. I've gotten at least two pints every day for the last week. We've been eating them with many meals and Bonnie has been baking wonderful desserts. Neighbors are getting raspberries. We've taken berries to work. It's a wonderful time.

If you have never picked raspberries, here is some advice:

  • Raspberries are easy to grow if you have a sunny, well-drained spot that you don't mind letting go a little wild. I planted five little sticks about eight years ago and now have a thriving patch.
  • When picking, look at the bushes from every angle that you can. You'll find that after picking the top and outside of the bushes, there are many more inside the thicket.
  • If a raspberry does not come off easily, it is not yet ripe. The berries that are ready just slide off in your fingers.
  • Really shiny berries are not ready. The peak flavor in my berries seems to be in those that are just losing their shine. If they dull and dark, you are too late. It is better to be a little early picking than late.
  • Little berries that did not fill out taste woody. I drop those to get them off the bushes.
  • Some berries are so ripe you have to eat them right of the bush. Right after dinner is a good time to pick. Consider it dessert time.

While you do have to clean the patch up in the fall and spring, the work is easy. Here outside Chicago, I hardly have to water the established patch except in drought. The benefits of having a raspberry patch are many. Many pints.

No comments: