While blackberries are cultivated initially in Europe, American farmers began growing this fruit, too. This unique fruit came from brambles shrub, which is particularly thorny. Blackberry is a form of aggregate fruit—which means that it forms clusters of tiny fruits sticking one and another. One interesting fact about blackberries is the color-changing process that occurs during their ripening process.
As the blackberries release themselves from their flowers, it releases green-colored clusters with a bland flavor. It turns strawberry red for some time until it began to appear its known dark fruit. Like blackcurrant, the actual color of blackberry is a dark blue to a deep purple-indigo hue.
Cultivating blackberries is a tedious task. A year’s worth of nurturing this shrub will only produce fruit blooms that transform into fruit. The fruit propagation process occurs during the second period—the average cultivation time for this fruit. Blackberries can be plucked between July and August, while it can be earlier in some areas.
Will Blackberries Ripen Off the Vine?
Blackberries are deciduous fruits, which means it naturally falls off its vine when it reached its proper maturity. While several variants of blackberries have small heights, some can reach up above 45 feet, smashing the lovely fruit. That is why several cultivators tend to pluck the clusters of fruit before it turns dark indigo.
Another reason why cultivators gather blackberries before it ripens because of the fruit’s extremely short shelf life. As soon as the fruits are plucked away from the shrub, they will begin degrading within a day or two. The degradation of blackberries produces mushy fruits with a moldy sour taste.
Good thing blackberries can still be ripened off the vine. Please note that you can only do this when the blackberries are already in their dark strawberry red color. A green-colored berry requires more time on its shrub before it can be plucked off its vine.
Why Are My Blackberries Not Ripening?
Blackberries are generally not a picky plant, but they can still be left unripe if improper measurements are done. There are several reasons why your blackberries are not ripening. It could be that you didn’t water the plant regularly or when the soil profile is not suitable for your blackberries.
Fruit pests and bugs can also be a factor while your blackberries are not ready to harvest. Blackberries that are not turning black could be due to mite infestation. Redberry mites, which attack several berries and shrubs, inject toxic substances on the fruit and stem, hindering the ripening process of the said fruit.
If this happens, inspect your vineyard. If red-colored bugs are lurking on the blackberries, that means that your fruits are infested with pests. Sadly, redberry mites’ invasion cannot be remedied. The unripe blackberries cannot be consumed since toxins from the pesky mites are already absorbed by the plant.
The only remedy for this is to prepare a pest solution beforehand. Redberry mites can stick until the winter period, which can devastate the vineyard further. Designing a solution of horticultural oils can kill the mites without affecting the condition of your blackberries. Spray these oils before the flower buds sprout, which commonly happens two to three weeks before the harvest.
Using sulfur spray as a substitute
If you don’t have horticultural oils in hand, you can use sulfur solution to kill redberry mites. The sulfur spray is not only efficient as a form of insecticide, but it can also be a suitable fungicide. Mixing the proper proportion of sulfur is essential to prevent harming you and the plant. While the ready-to-use sulfur spray is available in the market, it can be expensive.
Creating your sulfur spray can reduce excess cost on your side. To make your sulfur spray, you may follow these steps:
- Check the sulfur product that you’ll be using for this project. Sulfur can be available in the form of powder, paste, liquid, or dust. Not all sulfur products are suitable for plants, so checking the actual product is a must. It is suggested to purchase a sulfur product on-farm markets since these are created essentially for plants.
- Follow the instructions indicated on the sulfur product that you are using. Several plants and trees require various concentration levels of spray. You can check the product or conduct prior research before making your spray.
- Make sure that the sulfur-water solution is mixed thoroughly. This will prevent the bottom area of the solution from being overly concentrated. An intense sulfur spray may irritate your skin and the plant, too.
- Make sure to wear proper clothing, masks, and gloves before spraying. Prevent yourself from inhaling the solution. Sulfur can irritate your nasal area, and it can reach your lung area, which can cause complications in your breathing.
- Check the weather condition before spraying. If the airflow goes against your position, reschedule the spraying session. The sulfur mist will go directly to your eye area, which can irritate you.
- The sulfur spray must be done two to three weeks before the harvest period. This is to prevent the actual flower bloom from absorbing the sulfur element, affecting the plant’s profile.
Can You Eat Unripe Blackberries?
Blackberries grow in long vines that are naturally green in color. The vines shoot up the ground area with thorny tangles. Harvesting blackberries must be done in caution to prevent yourself from pricking on the fruit’s thorns. Unripe blackberries are known for their green color—which can have a sour taste and a little bit of fruit sap sticking to your tongue.
While unripe blackberries are non-toxic, they can be unsuitable for some. This means that you can still eat unripe blackberries—but it has a different texture and taste than when it is ripe. Red-colored blackberries are also considered unripe, but it has a different flavor, too. This can be a little bit sweet but still holding its tart-sour flavor.
If you don’t want to consume unripe blackberries, you can ripe them off the vine. As mentioned earlier, green blackberries tend to have a hard surface which repels the acceleration process. This will leave the green blackberries hard for a long time. There will also be a case wherein a ripened green blackberry will still have an acrid-tart flavor profile.
In this method, you need to wrap the green berries with thick layers of paper bags. You can also use newspaper or any material made of paper. Covering the unripe berries with paper will force the fruit to undergo a ripening process. This ripening process can take more than 24 hours, depending on the fruit’s condition.
How Do You Ripen Blackberries?
Accelerating the ripening process can be done with these easy methods:
Method 1: Placing the fruit inside containers with apples
On this first method, it will only work for blackberries that already have a red tint. After harvesting the batch, prepare a large airtight container that can fit all of your blackberries. Make sure that it still has ample space to fit several apples. It is also recommended that the container be overly tight to prevent the fruit from crushing each other.
Layer your first line of blackberries until it reached six inches deep. Place 2-3 whole apples within the areas of the blackberries. Continue layering the blackberries and apples until you’ve already completed piling all your harvest. Cover the container and leave it for about 24 hours. Check it from time to time until you are satisfied with your harvest.
Method 2: Introducing the fruit to open-air
If you don’t have apples to accelerate the ripening process, you can do this second method instead. Place your harvested blackberries on a glass fruit bowl (a plastic container will do, make sure that it is transparent). Allow the open air to penetrate the clusters of fruit overnight. The open-air helps the blackberries to breathe, a process essential for plants to ripen faster. This method works more quickly when the blackberries are off the vine.
Check the fruits from time to time to prevent the blackberries from ripening too much. Overripe blackberries produce a mushy, dark blue goo that can lead molds to propagate faster. If this happens, discard the spoiled blackberries.
Method 3: Cutting and washing the blackberries
This third method of ripening blackberries is suitable when the stems and leaves of blackberries are still attached to the actual fruit. Cutting the fruit away from its branch allows the fruit to breathe on its own.
Transfer the fruit to small containers before placing it inside a refrigerator. You can drizzle the blackberries with one tablespoon of fresh apple juice to accelerate the process.
Cutting the blackberries away from their natural stems provides space for the apple juice to penetrate the fruit. This will not affect the fruit’s natural flavor, but it can accelerate the ripening process.
If you don’t have fresh apple juice, you can squeeze a quarter slice of ripe lemon into the container. The lemon extract helps the blackberries to preserve their flavor.