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How to Tell if a Blackberry is Ripe

When summer arrives, nothing quite beats the taste of a juicy, ripe blackberry straight from the bush. But how can you ensure you’re picking the most delectable berry at its peak of ripeness?

This guide will go over how to identify if blackberries are ripe, or overripe and tips on picking the best ones.

Freshly ripe blackberries in a white bowl on a white table.

To tell if a blackberry is ripe, look for a deep, dark black color and a slight shine. The fruit should be slightly soft when squeezed and come off the plant with a gentle tug. Any red coloration or difficulty picking suggest the fruit is not yet ripe.

How To Tell If Blackberries Are Ripe

Blackberries don’t ripen all at once, but rather in stages that are quite easy to observe. Understanding this cycle can help you choose the ripest, sweetest berries.

Stages of Blackberry Ripening

  1. Green Stage: This is when the blackberry has just formed. It will be hard to touch and bright green.
  2. Red Stage: As the blackberry matures, it will turn red. However, it’s not yet ripe at this stage.
  3. Black Stage: This is the final stage when the blackberry is fully ripe and ready to be harvested.


The first visual indicator is color. When ripe, blackberries have a deep, dark black color they are ripe. Any hint of red suggests that the fruit is not yet fully ripe.

Also, a ripe blackberry will have a slight shine to it. This glossy sheen suggests that the fruit is at its peak and ready to be plucked.


When gently squeezed, a ripe blackberry will be slightly soft, indicating that it’s ready to eat.

Ease of Picking

Ripe blackberries should come off the plant with a gentle tug. If you have to pull hard, the fruit is probably not ripe yet.

Summertime isn’t just for picking blackberries though, it’s also a great time for strawberry and blueberry picking. Be sure to check out our guides on how to tell when strawberries are ripe too.

Ripe vs. Overripe Blackberries

How can you tell the difference between a perfectly ripe blackberry and one that’s past its prime? Here is a comparison to help:

Ripe BlackberryOverripe Blackberry
Deep black colorDark purple or dull black color
Slight shineDull appearance
Slightly softMushy
Comes off with a gentle tugFalls off easily or has started to shrivel

Tips for Picking Ripe Blackberries

  1. Always check the color and sheen. The blacker and shinier, the better.
  2. Give the berry a gentle squeeze. If it’s slightly soft, it’s ripe.
  3. Pull gently. If the berry comes off easily, it’s ready.

How to Store Blackberries

Once you’ve picked your perfect, ripe blackberries, it’s crucial to store them correctly to preserve their flavor and freshness.

Start by gently rinsing them under cool water and letting them air dry or pat them dry with a soft cloth.

Avoid soaking them as they can absorb water and become mushy. Once dry, place your blackberries in a breathable container or a bowl lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.

Store them in the refrigerator where they can last for three to six days. It’s best to consume them as soon as possible, but if you want to enjoy them later, you can also freeze them.

Just spread the berries out on a baking sheet, freeze them until solid, and then transfer them to a freezer bag or container. This way, you can enjoy your ripe blackberries anytime you wish.

Ways to Use Blackberries

Here’s a list of delicious ways you can incorporate blackberries into your meals:

  1. Fresh Snack: Enjoy the ripe berries on their own as a refreshing snack.
  2. Salads: Add them to salads for a touch of sweetness and vibrant color.
  3. Smoothies: Blend them into smoothies for a nutrient-rich, fruity drink.
  4. Desserts: Bake them into pies, tarts, or cobblers for a sweet treat.
  5. Jams and Jellies: Make homemade blackberry jam or jelly for a spread that bursts with flavor. Check out my post to learn what the difference is between jelly and jam.
  6. Infused Drinks: Infuse vinegar or spirits with blackberries for unique, flavorful concoctions.
  7. Sauces: Cook them down into a sauce to drizzle over meats or desserts.
  8. Yogurt and Cereal Topping: Use them as a topping for your breakfast yogurt or cereal.
  9. Ice Cream Topping: Top your favorite ice cream with fresh blackberries for an added touch of fruitiness.

Each of these uses highlights the versatility of blackberries and provides a variety of ways to enjoy this delicious fruit.

Health Benefits of Blackberries

Blackberries are a powerhouse of nutritional goodness, offering numerous health benefits according to Healthline. They are packed with vitamins like C and K, high in fiber, and rich in antioxidants that can boost your immune system and protect against chronic diseases.

Furthermore, their high fiber content supports digestive health, making them a delicious and healthy addition to your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Tell If A Blackberry Is Ripe

Blackberries can taste sour if they’re not fully ripe. Waiting until the berry is fully black and slightly soft can ensure a sweeter taste.

No, blackberries do not continue to ripen after being picked. It’s crucial to harvest them when they are fully ripe for the best flavor.

Blackberry season typically runs from late spring through early fall, with the peak ripeness occurring in mid-summer.


Finding the perfectly ripe blackberry is an art in itself, involving a keen eye and a gentle touch. By observing the color, shine, and feel of the berries, you can ensure you’re picking the tastiest and ripest blackberries every time.

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