Looking for Blackberry Varieties in 2024? Scroll down this page and follow the links.
And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make
jam, salsa or pickles, see this
page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving
directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above. If you are having a hard time
finding canning lids, I've used these, and they're a great price & ship in 2 days.
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What's in season in February 2024, and
other timely information:
Notes for February 2024: Summer is almost over and that means apples are here (see this new page for Apple Orchards in your area!), and except in northern areas, peaches and blueberries are finished. Some crops continue until
frost, like raspberries, blackberries, figs, corn and tomatoes. Check your area's
crop calendar (see this page) and call your local farms for
See these pages to find a local
and other festivals.
We have a extensive guide to apple varieties and a guide to peach varieties. Also recipes, canning and freezing directions for
And don't forget CORN MAZES are open now - find a local maze here.
See our comprehensive list of
home canning, jam and jelly
making, preserving, drying and freezing directions. You can access
recipes and other resources from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search.
If you have any questions or suggestions,
feel free to write me! It is easy to
make your own ice cream,
even gelato, or low fat or low sugar ice cream - see this page. Also note,
there are many copycat website listing U-pick farms now. The worst is the one that stole our name but ends with .farm. (Yes, I've got lawyers on
it) They have all
copied their information from here and usually do not ever update. Since
2002, I've been updating the information every day but Christmas; so if you see
anything wrong or outdated, please
Children's Consignment Sales
are a great way to save money on clothes, toys, books, etc, They
occur in both the Spring and Fall
See our companion website to find a local
community or church kid's consignment sale!
Guide to Blackberry Varieties
the U.S. Blackberries typically peak during June in the South, and in July in
the North. Crops are ready at various times of the month depending on which part
of the state you are located. In order to produce good local Blackberries,
producers depend on ideal spring and early summer weather conditions.
See this page for a list of
blackberry festivals around the U.S.
Thorny or thornless?
The thorny varieties, especially Kiowa tend to have a more intense flavor, but... those thorns. Kiowa berries are so huge, though, that you
can navigate around the thorns pretty well.
Single crop (June - July)
- Apache - largest thornless upright berry
- Arapaho - thornless upright excellent berry
- Natchez - Very large berry, thornless upright
- Quachita - Upright thornless variety, large berry
- Kiowa - Extremely large with best quality of all varieties, thorny. It is thorny, but the flavor and size make it one of my
- Navaho - Thornless erect, very large fruit highly recommended
- Darrow - Thorny, exceptionally large, tasty, sugar sweet berry that just keeps on producing
- Tupi - Thorny and super large
Dual crop (June/July and September)
These produce an early crop, rest a bit and then produce a second (usually smaller) crop
- PRIME-ARK 45 -THORNY PRIMACANE AND FLORICANE FRUITING- BOTH SPRING AND FALL PRODUCTION
- PRIME-ARK FREEDOM - THORNLESS PRIMACANE AND FLORICANE
FRUITING BOTH SPRING AND FALL PRODUCTION
Tips on How to Pick Blackberries
There are two types of blackberries to know about: thorny and thornless!
Obviously, the thornless are easier to pick, but some people claim the
thorny varieties are sweeter. With the thorny plants, you want to reach into
the plant in the gaps, so you don't need to touch anything but the berry
you're after, avoiding the thorns.
- A ripe blackberry is deep black with a
plump, full feel. It will pull free from the plant with only a slight tug.
If the berry is red or purple, it's not ripe yet.
- Repeat these
operations using both hands until each holds 3 or 4 berries.Unlike
strawberries, blackberries are usually pretty tough, I dump mine into the
bucket. Repeat the picking process with both hands.
- Don't overfill
your containers or try to pack the berries down.
General Picking Tips
Whether you pick Blackberries from your garden or at a Pick-Your-Own farm, here
are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Pick only the berries that are fully black. Reach in between the stems to
grab for hidden berries ready for harvest. Bend down and look up into the
plant and you will find loads of berries that other people missed!
Avoid placing the picked berries in the sunlight any longer than necessary.
It is better to put them in the shade of a tree or shed than in the car
trunk or on the car seat. Cool them as soon as possible after picking.
Blackberries may be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week,
depending upon the initial quality of the berry. After a few days in
storage, however, the fruit loses its bright color and fresh flavor and
tends to shrivel.
When you get home
wash the berries until you are ready to use them or freeze them. Washing
makes them more prone to spoiling.
- Pour them out into shallow pans and remove any mushed, soft or rotting
- Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash off the others, drain
them and freeze them up! (Unless you're going to make jam right away)
Blackberries are less perishable than blueberries or strawberries, but
refrigerate them as soon as possible after picking. Temperatures between 34
F and 38 F are best, but, be careful not to freeze the blackberries (while
they are in the fridge)!
- Even under ideal conditions blackberries will only keep for a week in a
refrigerator, so for best flavor and texture, use them as soon as possible
Blackberry Recipes, Freezing and Jam directions
- How to make Blackberry jam - It is VERY easy - especially
with our free Blackberry jam
directions - very easy!
- How to make
How to freeze berries
- Blackberry syrup, make and can it!
- Seedless blackberry pie!
Blackberry Festivals: Where, When and More to Find an Blackberry
Festival Near You this year:
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Blackberries
- How to freeze blackberries?
Just rinse them in cold
water. I use a large bowl filled with water, pour the berries in, and
gently stir them with my fingers to dislodge any dirt or bugs. Then using
my fingers like a sieve, I scoop the blackberries out of the water, and put
them in a drainer to let the water drain off. Then I just pour the berries
into a ziploc bags or vacuum sealer bags and pop them in the freezer. After
they are frozen, I remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal the
- Soaking in Salt Water? Sinkers or Floaters?
I planted 7 Blackberry bushes 2 years ago and am now in the midst of a lot
of ripening berries. Therefor...I'm making jam (along with pies and
cobblers). A friend told me that before I eat or cook with them, I should
soak the freshly picked berries in the sink full of slightly warm water and
a full Tablespoon of salt to remove any parasites (small worms). Have you
ever heard of this? Do you know of specific directions to insure all the
worms are removed? I've just been rinsing them and using them for the past
couple of days. Also, the same friend said that if the berries floated in
the water they were "good", but that if they sank to the bottom of the sink
I should throw them out. What are your thoughts?
Answer: Well, soaking in salt water sometimes (but now always) causes
grubs to dislodge. BUT. in 30 years of growing blackberries in 12 states and
2 continents. I've never seen a bug in a blackberry. But I have
heard of folks who do have a problem with pests.
If you see bugs in there, give it a try. But until then, save yourself
trouble and just wash them in a large bowl of cold water!
Floaters v. sinkers? Naaaahhhh! I've never heard that the
density of the berry was a consistent indicator of much other than weather
- I have picked my blackberries and have seen little worms. Not sure if
these are fruit flys that have laid eggs in them - or if they are grubs. I
picked some out than froze the berries. I have heard that cold will kill
them or drawn them out. If I make jam the cooked way (not freezer jam) and
some of the grubs/worms are left will it hurt people? I would like to
believe I got them all but fear I did not.
Answer: That sounds like some type of fruitworm, the grub or larval form
of a beetle. Typically, they are about 1/4-inch long. Soaking for an hour or
more in salt water (1 cup of slat to the gallon), may help draw them out. Cold would
probably kill them, but leave them inside the fruit. I don't imagine
they would be harmful if cooked into jam... but I doubt anyone would ask for
seconds if they found one. Eeeewwwwww!
See here for related tools, equipment, supplies on Amazon
Canning & Preserving for Dummies by Karen Ward
click here for more information, reviews, prices for Canning
and Preserving For Dummies
The Ball Blue Book of Home Canning
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vegetables, meats, etc. If it can be canned, this book likely tells
you how! Click on the link below for more information and / or to buy (no
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Click here for more information about the
Ball Blue Book of Preserving