When Do Blackberries Ripen? Expert Info!

Blackberry Season 

Blackberry plants are fantastic to have around. You may be wondering, when do blackberries ripen? You must harvest blackberries when they are completely ripe because they don’t continue to ripen after you pick them.

But if you plant your berries, they must go from the garden to your kitchen or mouth. This way, you can have perfectly ripe berries specially grown to have the best flavor for a much lower price.

Blackberry close up

When Do Blackberries Ripen?

Blackberries begin to ripen in July and August. Picking ripe blackberries are essential. When you want the best flavors, look for dark black berries that appear plump. The berry may require a few more weeks to ripen if it is a pale shade of purple or red or is quite firm. 

Check before the birds get to them because not all berries will mature simultaneously.

The selection process is simple. Use caution when reaching deep inside the bush for the ideal blackberry because most blackberries have thorns. Use the best fertilizer for the healthiest blackberry bushes.

When you come home, place the blackberries onto a shallow pan and sort through them to remove any that are rotting or are too ripe. Although they can last for approximately a week in the refrigerator, blackberries are best when you use them immediately. Choose your favorite dish and indulge in the sweet flavor of summer blackberries as the last step.

What You Should Know About Picking Blackberries

Tips on Picking Blackberries

You should have information on how to pick blackberries. Choose the darker berries every time. Even if the red ones appear like delicious raspberries, they’re probably not ripe and bitter. You must leave the most difficult ones to the birds because of the dense branches, nettles, and thorns.

It shouldn’t be difficult to twist off the berries if you find a bush with lots of fruit. Consider donning gloves and long sleeves if the only ones still standing are more difficult to reach to prevent scratches.

Can We Eat Them Straight Off the Bush?

Not everybody is at ease doing this. The cautious parent should thoroughly wash the berries first. 

It is reassuring to take the berry straight from the bush and pop it in your mouth. You can choose how much risk you want to expose your kids to. Check the fruit to see signs of insect life, dirt, or debris on the surface. Possibly spray it with water from your bottle as well.

Picking the berries closest to the ground because they are the easiest to access may be alluring, especially for young children. Remember that animals might have been brushing them, so if you’re not going to wash them first, it’s usually best to avoid them. 

It is also advisable to avoid blackberries growing close to busy roads because they can have harmful contaminants. Blackberries are relatively simple to recognize and are unlikely to affect you if you eat them. That is not true of all wild berries, let alone most of them. Make sure the younger children comprehend this. 

Remind them that they should always ask an adult for permission before picking up or eating anything they find in the wild.

Tips for Using Your Blackberries

You should wash the blackberries first. Give them a few minutes to soak in cold water, then drain. Repeat several times to remove all of the little insects and dirt. The berries are delicate and easily mulched, so try not to beat them around too much.

Blackberries are a nutrient-rich fruit. With other fruit, bake them into pies or crumbles. To the coulis, add them. Make blackberry sorbet or ice cream. Additionally, you can freeze them for later use or preserve them as jam. 

Preserving and Storing

The bad news is that you must consume or conserve this fruit within three to six days of harvest because it is extremely perishable. To avoid rot, wait to wash your berries until you’re ready to eat or cook them.


Until you’re ready to use them, you should store your fresh berries in the refrigerator in a shallow container. Use a paper towel or plastic wrap with ventilation holes to cover your container.


You can freeze and store blackberries using a specific method. You can freeze blueberries using this method as well. Doing these things can prevent your fruit from freezing into a solid ball in your freezer.

  • Rinse them, then allow them to dry fully.
  • Distribute your berries in a single layer across a baking sheet.
  • Put your cookie sheet in the freezer to separately freeze the berries, making it simpler to remove only what you need in the future.
  • Transfer them to zip-top freezer bags, label them, and store them until they are completely frozen.
  • You can freeze and store berries for up to a year!
  • The texture will be a little mushy after thawing. Pies, dessert casseroles, and smoothies are excellent dishes for using the freezing technique for storage.
  • Many sites offer a variety of blackberry recipes that you might also like.


My absolute favorite method for preserving acidic fruits is canning. If you can get your blackberries properly, you can enjoy their delightful flavor for up to a year—an image of glass canning jars and lids in close-up horizontal perspective on a wooden surface.

You can bake this fruit and use it as a topping for yogurt or cereal in the morning. Due to their low acidity and high sugar content, you must pressure can most other fruit varieties for safe processing.

However, acidic fruits like tomatoes and blackberries need a boiling water bath for safe processing, provided that you do not combine them with other ingredients that reduce the acidity to potentially harmful levels.

Try these updated canning directions from a Ball Blue Book of Canning from World War II for a jar. You’ll need between 2 and 3 pounds (0.9 to 1.4 kilograms) of berries to fill one jar. You must first sterilize your jars. 

Please put in a sizable pot with enough water to cover it, then bring it to a boil. Ten minutes of boiling comes before the removal from the water and placement on a fresh kitchen towel or placemat. 

New to canning? To help remove your jars out of the boiling water, you will need a pair of tongs. You may safely remove them with the aid of a canning jar lifter, which you can buy on Amazon.

When Do Blackberries Bloom?

Bees and butterflies get the attraction to the sweet nectar in the blooms of blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) while they bloom. In the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 10, blackberry bushes can be grown in gardens. You frequently find them growing untamed along country roads and in the woods.

Blackberries bloom at different times depending on the kind and weather in the area where you plant them. Blackberries bloom in warm regions, such as USDA zone 7 and south, from the middle of April until the beginning of May. Blackberries bloom in late May in the drier areas north of zone 7.

Look for early-blooming types that provide earlier harvests, such as the vigorous but thorny Choctaw (Rubus fruticosus ‘Choctaw’), which thrives in USDA zones 8 to 9. Depending on the cultivar, blackberries begin to mature 60 to 70 days after the blossoms open. 

Some kinds, like the Arapaho thornless blackberry (Rubus fruticosus ‘Arapaho,’ USDA zones 5 to 10), which is the first erect-growing thornless blackberry in the world, yield ripe fruit around 11 days earlier than the Navaho (Rubus fruticosus ‘Navaho,’ USDA zones 6 to 10).

Even though blackberries are self-fertile and do not require a nearby male plant for pollination, growing many blackberry bushes in the same location is still advantageous. Bees can collect more pollen, and more flowers can go through pollination when many plants are present. 

For each plant, better pollination results from having more blooms close together. Blackberry plants can be grown in small spaces and produce blossoms independently. Cross-pollination between various blackberry varieties is possible if they are all in bloom simultaneously. It is possible to cultivate several distinct types side by side and yet benefit from cross-pollination.

Blackberries in a wood plate

What Do Wild Blackberries Look Like?

Wild blackberry plants flourish throughout the United States but are particularly common in the hospitable Pacific Northwest. Thimbleberry is the only non-vining species of the four invasive wild blackberry brambles. It also doesn’t have the other species’ thorny stems. 

While both Himalaya and cut leaf have five-angled branches, you can identify Himalaya by its five leaflets, each round and serrated. In contrast, the cut leaf has five deeply lobed leaflets. 

With staggered bloom dates starting with Western thimbleberry and Pacific in March to the Himalayas and cut leaf blooming in May, all bushes of wild blackberries bloom in shades of white to pink. The resultant fruit is a group of tiny, meaty, blue/black to deep purple fruit with one seed.

How to Tell When Blackberries are Ripe

A mature blackberry has a deep black color and feels full, plump, and slightly soft. The berry is not yet ripe if it is red or purple. If you give a blackberry a little tug, it will disappear from the plant.

A completely mature berry has matte, not shiny, black skin. These berries have the best sweetness! Pick-your-own customers can wait until the berries are fully ripe and no longer shiny, but these will not keep as long. You can pick berries for wholesale when they are still shiny so that they will stay for long. Fruit that is too ripe is also dull, but it is beginning to soften and leak.

The Different Types of Blackberry Cultivars

Thorny versus Thornless Cultivars

Due to the absence of thorns, many people favor thornless varieties. Although rosette disease affects thorny cultivars, they might not live as long.

Thorny Cultivars


The fruit has a shiny, black surface and is long, cylinder-shaped, slightly flattened, and highly appealing. Evaluations made after harvest point to longer shelf life.


Canes stand upright and support themselves. The fruit has a great flavor and is huge, glossy, firm, and black. It also contains a lot of sugar. Harvest season lasts approximately 45 days, and it ripens simultaneously as Chickasaw. Good post-harvest evaluation outcomes.

Thornless Cultivars


The fruit has a shiny, black finish and is blocky and conical in shape. The flavor is extremely nice, and the sugar level is equivalent to other varieties. Greater than Navaho and Arapaho in terms of seed size. Fruit yields are high, and fruit size is twice as big as Navaho. 

The ripening period is later than both kinds but more concentrated, and the bloom date falls between Navaho and Arapaho. Strength, health, cane erectness, and cold hardiness are superior to those of Arapaho and Navaho.


Canes stand upright and sustain themselves. Medium-sized, short, conical fruits with little seeds and a glossy, vivid black exterior provide medium yields. Shawnee products have a longer shelf life and less sugar than Navaho products. 

Ripens approximately 11 days before Navaho, and the harvest lasts four weeks. Hardy throughout all of Mississippi. From roots, plants may easily reproduce.


Caddo is a high-yielding cultivar with upright canes and medium-sized fruit. The fruit has a great flavor and is sweet. It is a commercial cultivar with excellent potential for usage in home gardens and local markets.


The canes of the Navaho are upright and self-supporting. Fruit is solid, delicious, glossy, and medium in size. Produces for about a month and ripens around seven days after Shawnee. It has a good shelf life. In Mississippi, plants are resilient to low temperatures. Because Navaho plants can’t grow from their roots, it’s preferable to space them closer together.


Plants are upright in Natchez. Fruit is substantial, bigger than Arapaho, Ouachita, and Navaho, and comparable to Apache. Early June; is similar to Arapaho’s ripening season but earlier than that of Ouachita and Apache.


Similar in size to Ouachita, with upright growing canes bearing medium-sized fruit. High yields in the early to mid-season ripening period. Excellent preservation potential and good flavor.


Canes on the Ouachita plant are very upright. Fruit is huge, flavorful, and has a lot of sugar. Consistently high yields outperform other thornless cultivars in terms of production. Ripening starts early in June and lasts about four weeks. Fruit and plants are generally resistant to illness.


Ponca is a 2019 new arrival with erect, high-yielding canes. It is medium in size, highly delicious fruit, and has excellent post-harvest handling qualities. It is good for usage in home gardens, local markets, and shipping.

Sweetie Pie 

Sweetie pie is an extremely heat-tolerant plant bred by the USDA in Poplarville, Mississippi. It grows quickly and bears huge, exceptionally sweet fruit. Perfect for farmers’ markets, you-pick enterprises, and private residences. Mid to late in the blackberry-growing season, Sweetie Pie ripens (mid-to-late June). Sweetie Pie is rosette-resistant (double blossom).

Triple Crown

Displays a trailing growth habit and consistently produces abundant fruit. Fruits have a pleasant flavor and are generally huge. It would be ideal to extend the growing season into July. However, the best output requires trellising.

Primocane Fruiting Cultivars

Due to high temperatures during blooming, primocane-fruiting (also known as fall-fruiting) cultivars are currently ineligible for fall fruit production in Mississippi. Primocane-fruiting cultivars, however, can be successfully grown for a spring crop. Primeark-45, primeark freedom, primeark traveler, prime-Jan, and prime-Jim are cultivars.

Blackberry Recipe Ideas

Mini Blackberry Pies recipe

This recipe combines fresh berries in small pies with a buttery crust and whipped cream. You can eat each berry on its own or divide it into two generous portions.

Blackberry Jam Recipe

Sage makes a great, distinctive accent to fresh blackberry jam. This straightforward small-batch jam recipe has directions for canning the jam so that you may enjoy it later on, but you could also store the jam in the fridge. You should use your jam within a week or two if you are not canning the blackberry jam.

Blackberry sorbet

The sorbet recipe in The Easy Vegetarian Cookbook is the basis for this dish. Nothing better than using a few ingredients and showcasing fresh fruit! Although you could also use honey or maple syrup, you can also make this with sugar cane. 

You can also change the berries in this particular recipe depending on what you have. It’s pretty awesome when you combine it with raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.

Blackberry Syrup Recipe

Every dish you serve with this blackberry syrup recipe gets a burst of summer flavor! A must-have dish is blackberry syrup, which you may use to flavor drinks or as a topping for pancakes, yogurt, or desserts.

You should eat blackberries as a whole and with the seeds intact as much as possible. If you would rather, you can combine your blackberry syrup and then strain it through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to get rid of all the seeds. You’ll then get a seedless, pulpless blackberry syrup.

Additionally, it is best to use fresh blackberries during their season. Still, you may use frozen blackberries at any time of the year.

Blackberry Jam

Final Thoughts

Growing blackberries is fairly simple. It cannot be easy to wait, but it’s crucial to remember that you should only pick the fruit when it is mature, black, and plump. Hold the items you’ve chosen in a flat basket to avoid bruising. Fruit that has bruises will decay quickly, which is bad because it only has a five-day shelf life.

Eat your berries right away or can or freeze them for long-term storage by putting them in the refrigerator as soon as feasible. I hope you enjoyed the recipe ideas above. Do share any advice you may have for producing jams, syrups, or other preserves!

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