Pick Your Own Farm Grown Blackberries!
Here at Justus Orchard, we grow thornless Navaho and Ouachita Blackberries that are sweet and easy to pick.
We are open for U Pick Blackberries 7 days a week starting early July, exact dates are subject to weather conditions that year. Keep reading for some wonderful Blackberry Health facts and picking and storing tips!
Why should you buy fresh blackberries?
Because they are delicious and nutritious!
Blackberries are plump blue/purple berries that can be picked off bushes or trailing vines in the summer months. Although blackberries are good for the whole season, berries picked at the beginning of the season provide the best selection. Later in the season, blackberries can become smaller and less fully developed, but still juicy.
Not only do blackberries have a mouth-watering taste, they’re also appealing to your health. For the best health benefits and the lowest calorie intake, reduce the amount of added sugar and whipped topping. Recent research finds eating berries can stave off the cognitive decline and memory loss with age by enjoying 2 or more servings per week. Along with this health benefit, there are many other benefits to this plump blue/purple berry:
- High Fiber – Blackberries have 37 calories, 9 grams of carbohydrate, and 4 grams of fiber in every ½ cup!
- Loaded with Vitamin C – ½ cup provides 100% of the recommended Vitamin C for an adult, as well as providing a large amount of potassium
- Antioxidant – Blackberries have the highest antioxidant contents per serving of any food tested
- The content was 5.75 millimoles per serving more than that of other foods, meaning that blackberries may have a positive impact on health, athletic performance, and disease risk.
- Blackberries contain anthocyanin’s, which gives it it’s glossy, dark color, and this powerful phytonutrient that’s been shown to protect the brain from oxidative stress and may even reduce effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- Blackberries have been found to fight against cancers of the GI tract, such as colon cancer.
Although you may want to pick extra blackberries for later use, it is important to freeze the leftover blackberries quickly after picking due to their short shelf life. There are a handful of ways to freeze blackberries:
Select fully ripe, firm berries. Wash carefully in cold water, discarding soft, under-ripe or defective fruit.
Syrup Pack – Pack berries into containers and cover with cold 40-50% syrup, depending on the sweetness of fruit. Leave headspace. Seal and freeze.
Sugar Pack – Gently mix ¾ cup sugar with 1 quart (11/3 pounds) berries. Fill containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
Dry Pack – Pack berries into the container, leaving headspace. Berries can also be frozen on a tray and then packed into containers as soon as they are frozen. Seal and freeze.
Picking vs. buying from a grocery store?
Blackberry patches are most abundant in the summer. For the best price and flavor, make a mini family day trip and pick your own! This way, you take out the middle man, shipping, and storage, which leads to being environmental savvy by cutting down on pollutants and extra trash from packaging. In addition, you will know where your berries came from and you’ll be taking home the freshest of the fresh, along with a day full of family memories. Not to mention, you will be helping a local farmer and your local community.
Recheck your berries after arrival to your home and discard any berries with signs of decay, mold, or other spoilage. Blackberries have a short shelf life, so use within a couple of days of picking.
As well as other fruits, blackberries need to be washed, drained before being consumed, and covered and stored in the refrigerator afterward. Enjoy blackberries by:
- Adding them into plain or flavored yogurts
- Adding them to cold or hot cereal
- Blending blackberries with low-fat vanilla ice cream to make a blackberry milkshake
- Adding them to any fresh spinach salad with walnuts, cheese, and low fat vinaigrette
- Mixing blackberries into waffle or pancake batter OR stack on top when they’re done
- Topping a bowl of tapioca
- Mixing them with mashed bananas and fruit-flavored yogurt then spoon into muffin cups and freeze
- Making a peanut butter/blackberry sandwich
- Creating a blackberry sauce and add onto grilled pork or chicken: combine 1 pint of blackberries with ½ cup balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey, cook until smooth, pour, and enjoy!
More Tips on How to Pick Blackberries
A ripe blackberry is a 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.
Don’t overfill your containers or try to pack the berries down.
General Picking Tips
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’ll 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
DON’T wash the berries until you are ready to use them. Washing makes them more prone to spoiling.
Pour them out into shallow pans and remove any mushed, soft or rotting berries
Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash off the others 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.
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 after purchase or freeze them for future use.