Monday, August 5, 2013

Berry and Fruit Picking Tips & Tricks

When you pick berries that have thorns, wear long stockings with the feet whacked off--not nylons--or some similar heavy protection on your arms so you won't get too badly scratched. A leather belt around your waist with a half gallon can hanging on it is handy, and then you can empty the berries into a big bucket when the little one is full. Don't worry about leaves and such when you're picking. You can put the berries in water when you get home, and leaves will float to the top; you can just scoop them away.

1. Pick on a dry day because damp fruit is more likely to spoil.
2. Store fruit in a cool place soon after it is picked.
3. For safety's sake, pick into something that leaves your hands free. This could be a bucket hanging from your belt, or a fruit-bag that fastens around your waist and hangs like an apron down your front.
4. For least bruising and best condition, pick each fruit by hand.
5. Bend the fruit upward. Twist gently to fee it from the branch. A ripe fruit should easily separate. Keep the stem in the fruit. If pulled out, rot can develop in the hole.

Fruit can be packed for freezing without a sweetener or liquid. Fruits that will be eaten raw or used for pies or jams after thawing will be fine without a sweetener. Just slice or crush them in their own juice, or even freeze them whole.

["Berry Picking" and "Secrets of Fruit Picking" excerpted from Chapter 6: Tree, Vine, Bush and Bramble. Illustration copyright 1994 by Cindy Davis. "Pre-Treatment for Freezing Fruit" excerpted from Chapter 7: Food Preservation.]

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