When to harvest strawberries? If you like strawberries, you most likely consume them on a regular basis throughout their peak season. It is fulfilling to choose your own strawberries, whether at a U-Pick farm or from your own patch. You will receive the freshest, most delicious berries imaginable by harvesting them yourself. Picking strawberries at the right time and in the proper manner will help you to get the most out of this pastime.
When to Harvest Strawberries?
Due to the limited duration of the strawberry season (three to four weeks), it is important to understand not only how to harvest a strawberry plant, but also when the strawberry harvest season starts in order to ensure that none of the strawberries go to waste.
The berry plants will almost definitely attempt to set fruit in their first year of growth, but you should be tough and dissuade them from this path of thought. Why? If the plants produce fruit, they devote all of their energy to this process rather than sending out runners. You’d want a large berry patch, don’t you? Pick the flowers off of the first-year plants to encourage the “mother” plant to produce healthy “daughter” plants the following year.
After full bloom, the plants are normally ready for harvesting 28 to 30 days later in the second year. In the middle of each cluster, the berries grow to their maximum size. The berries should be plucked when they are totally red in color, not before. It is not necessary to pick strawberries every two to three days since not all of the berries will mature at the same time.
How to Pick Strawberries (with Pictures)
When the berry has reached its peak coloration, remove the fruit from the plant while leaving around one-quarter of the stem intact. Picking strawberries early in the morning, when the berries are still cold, is the most productive period.
Strawberries are a fragile fruit that bruises readily, so extreme care should be used while picking them. Fruit that has been bruised will decay more quickly, but fruit that has not been bruised will keep longer and store better. Some strawberry cultivars, such as Surecrop, are simpler to pick than others because they quickly break off with a piece of the stem still connected to the fruit. Others, such as Sparkle, bruise readily, and care must be taken while removing the stem from the plant.
In order to pick strawberries, grab the stem between your fingers and thumb, softly pull and twist at the same time, and then release the stem. Allow the fruit to naturally roll into the palm of your hand. Place the fruit in a container in a gentle manner. Carry on picking in this way, taking care not to overfill the container or squash the berries too tightly together.
Picking berry kinds that are susceptible to capping is a little more difficult. Again, take hold of the stem, which should be just beneath the cap, and press lightly against the cap with your second finger. The fruit should readily come apart from the stem, leaving behind the cap that is securely attached to the stem.
Plant rot may be prevented if you remove any damaged berries from your harvest while you are harvesting the others. Picking berries with green tips is not a good idea since they are immature. It’s best to cool the berries immediately after harvesting them, but don’t wash them until you are ready to prepare them.
Suggestions for Keeping Strawberries Fresh
Strawberries will remain fresh in the refrigerator for three days, but after that, they will begin to deteriorate quickly. If your strawberry harvest produced more berries than you could ever consume or give away, don’t give up hope; there are ways to preserve your crop.
Whether cooked or pureed, strawberries freeze wonderfully and may be used in a variety of dishes, including desserts, smoothies, chilled strawberry soup, and anything else. If you want to preserve the berries, you may create frozen strawberry jam, which is simple to prepare and readily available online.