Berry harvest is an art just like any other gathering . know how to properly remove , identify when time to harvest & acknowledging all plants in the harvest area . I know , many people will roll their eyes . thinking " dam , its berry picking . give me a break. what is so hard about berry picking . its easy . go pick the berries "
well, If you harvest properly you can get 2-3 harvests as well as leaving some for wildlife . when selecting berries , what appears ripe may not actually be so. blue berries especially but also saskatoons can appear to look ripe in colour but if you look closely they are still changing from purple/ red to blue/purple . it is easy to be an impatient picker ( thats me !!! ) Yet it is so worth the 3 day wait ! it helps fruit maximize full nutrients instead of having to ripen off plant when no more goodness is being received via the mother plant . also first harvest is a delicate time . no , really it is . if you do not harvest properly you will take the green berries along with the ripe . if this is done then thats it no more harvest for us or the critters .
& no don't have a fit if you or your little ones get green berries . it happens . just if we are aware of it then we are careful & less green come off & are able to ripen .
so to pick , you actually are not really picking at all . it is more a pinch & roll method . use your thumb & pointer finger usually & sort of gently pinch the plant at the berries location , then roll with thumb & finger into your palm . there you go . the ripe berries absolutely just roll off because yes , they are ready ! the others , the green & not so ripe yet do not loosen off the plant & remain intact . waiting for yet another harvest in a week or so .
when harvesting , remember to keep in mind time of day . try to do your collecting of berries during the cool of the day like early mornings & evenings . Berries sweat if picked in the heat of the day & tend to mush up from this heat .
in order to clean berries , DRY CLEAN THEM ! This means pick over them DRY ! Do not bathe them ( if you even need to ) until finished dry cleaning them . if you try & clean them wet every little stick , juniper needle & bug sticks to them !
Instead pour a single layer of berries on a cookie sheet & pick through them dry ! easy peasy !