Wild blackberry pickers, think before you bite!

Blackberries on bush.
Photo credit: EESC slide collection
Q:

There are many sites where blackberries are growing wild. What, if any, precautions should I exercise when harvesting this resource and using it as a food source?

- Washington County, OR
A:

This a good year for blackberries but exercise some caution before using them as a food source. Here are some good reminders:

  • Make sure you can identify what you are picking. Carefully point out to children which berries are edible.
  • No trespasssing! Not all private properties are fenced.
  • Try to stay back from heavily traveled roads to reduce pollutants from traffic or potential herbicide/pesticide spray.
  • It is best to pick berries in the morning when it is cool. Berries lose freshness quickly in the heat.
  • Refrigerate if not freezing or cooking within hours.
  • Do not wash berries until just before you plan to use them.
  • One of my coworkers said she was taught not to pick berries near the ground where animals may have "dropped" on them.

Here is some food preserving information for your berries after you pick them.

Jeanne Brandt
County Specialist/Educator
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