Editor’s note: Updated July 2022: We’ve had an unusual season of raspberry picking. Most crops are ready to pick right now, while some are still ripening on the branch. Check farm websites for up-to-date information and times of operation.
Raspberries picking is friendly to all heights of pickers. In fact, a multi-height team is a plus. The raspberry canes do have prickles, but they are small and don’t cause problems unless someone falls into them. Best of all, unlike strawberries, you don’t have to bend over to pick them!
If you are like my family, many of the berries will be sampled and never make it into the box. This, of course, is the best way to learn what the primo berries look like.
Things to remember:
Dress for the weather and bring extra water, especially on hot days. Don’t forget the suncreen and proper shoes. Raspberries make wonderful snacks, if you’re allowed to sample the crop. But just in case the plants have been sprayed or your child wants a little something different – pack a lunch to control hunger pangs. You may be able to stay a bit longer to pick a few more pints of berries, if the kids are content.
Some of these farms take cash only so best to bring some along.
How do you pick out a good raspberry?
- Ripe raspberries are a little darker red than you think. Think raspberry red, not raspberry pink. Pick only ripe raspberries; they won’t get any riper once picked.
- Ready raspberries want to be picked. Pull on them and they almost fall into your hand, leaving a white core behind. If you bend the twig and the berry stays put, it’s not ready.
- Not too squishy. If they are already too soft to eat, leave them there.
- Refrigerate or freeze them if you have no plans for them before bedtime.
Didn’t eat all the berries you brought home?
If, despite your best efforts, there are still a few leftover raspberries, here are a few things to do:
• Freeze ‘em. Raspberries are almost as easy to freeze as blueberries. Rinse them and drain them well, jiggling to drain the centers. Freeze them in a single layer on a flat pan so that they freeze whole and don’t squish. When solid, seal in a zip-top bag.
•Popsicles! All you will need is paper cups, popsicle sticks, vanilla yogurt, orange juice and raspberries. The kids can do this for themselves.
For each cup of vanilla yogurt, stir in ½ cup orange juice, and as many raspberries as will fit.
Spoon into the paper cups and pop in a stick. Place in the freezer until solid. Perfect for, “Mom, I’m hungry and it’s too hot!” Peel off the paper cups and enjoy.
• Consider a food mill. If you toss in rinsed raspberries you get an instant purée and none of those seeds. Or send them through the blender and squish through a sieve. Add to yogurt or bubbly water for summer coolness.
• Make jam. Check out our recipe for Raspberry Orange-Flower Jelly
Looking strawberries to U-pick – check out our round-up.
How about some blueberries for some early morning muffins? Pick the berries here and bake with them later.
Find more fun outdoor things to do.