Keeping Track of Blueberry Growth Stages
Knowing when your blueberries are in season is easy, if you keep track of its growth stages. Blueberry growth starts with tight buds. As spring arrives, and the weather warms up, the tight bud starts to expand, and the bud eventually opens. Blueberry flowers grow from the buds and clusters form. The flowers start out pink and gradually turn white.
After the blooms open, the petals drop off, and you’ll be able to see the green berries. Keep an eye on the berries as they change from green to pink and blue. You can begin picking your blueberries when about 10 percent of them are deep blue. You should be able to get up to five pickings until all the blueberries are ripe.
Best Time of Day to Pick Blueberries
Although you can pick blueberries anytime during the day, picking them in the morning will give them a longer storage life. The reason for this is because when you pick warm blueberries, they’re already starting to deteriorate. The warmth causes them to become soft, which can result in damage and splitting as you pick the berries. Waiting until the dew dries and then picking the berries in the coolness of the morning, gives you the most shelf-life.
Blueberry Picking Method
Picking blueberries is relaxing, and you don’t need any special tools to do it. Just bring a container for holding the berries and your hand to your blueberry bushes. Here are a few tips for picking blueberries with the least amount of damage to the fruit:
- Cup your hand under the blueberry cluster.
- Gently pick the ripe blueberries with your other hand, allowing them to drop into your cupped hand.
- Pick all the ripe berries from one bush, and then move on to the next one.
- Don’t let your container become more than 5-inches deep with berries because they’ll get damaged.
After picking your blueberries, sort through them, removing any diseased, damaged or green berries. Store your berries in cool temperatures 33°F (.55°C) to 34°F (1.1°C). You can also freeze or can blueberries, if you aren’t going to use them right away. Blueberries start to deteriorate within 12 hours of the time you picked them, so make sure to either use them or freeze them before that.