Trailing Blackberry Flavor

jtburtonJune 11, 2013

IâÂÂm getting my first ripe berries from my trailing berry plants and so far IâÂÂm not overly impressed with any of them. All of the varieties (sylvan, marion, black diamond, wild treasure, thornless and thorny boysen) have been generally tart but the flavor hasnâÂÂt been intense. I had higher expectations based on the feedback on the forum. Could I be picking them under ripe? How long from the time they turn black or purple do you wait until picking them?

Also, are the first berries variable in their flavor? Could this just be the result of my climate?

Just curious.

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You are almost certainly picking them under ripe.

Pick them just before they rot and they will be the sweetest.

The surface should be dull, not shiny and the berries soft.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 9:06AM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

Picking Blackberries, I just picked gallon this morning and eat a lot here way tell if blackberry fruit ripe. After you pick berry look where come off bush it be green if not ripe bright green this part has green taste overcomes other taste in fruit. Now pick until find one green part dull green almost gray that a ready blackberry fruit for eating at plant.
You learn this by having picking container so load bright green into there eat dull green ones takes about 5 minute you be expert picking eating blackberries.
Now what to do with bright green berries in container put in Refrigerator three days look at what was green part it should be dull green ready to eat cook are freeze.
If going to make jelly the tart green taste will cook our some make good jelly.
For more tart taste add 6 red berries that tartan up finial Flavor.
Dull black drupes is first sign ripeness looking at picking off point your last chance before eating.
I'm just into harvest 8B I say way early for your zone, but don't have any trailing other dew berries they long gone.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 9:17AM
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I'm pretty sure I picked at least some of the berries early - I just haven't had a lot of experience yet with growing blackberries. I don't know why the trailing berries were so early, but this is my first season harvesting them.

My Kiowa and Prime Ark blackberries have completed blooming and have large green berries on them now. I suspect those will be ready for harvesting in 2-3 weeks, which is probably more inline with my normal harvest times.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:48AM
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You definitely picked them early. I did the same thing with my boysens when I first got them. If they look "plump" and are soft they are rdy to eat. One of my boys picked one of my boysens last year and it was like a sour patch kid it was so tart. One week later they were amazing, both sweet and tart combination.

This post was edited by ABz5b on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 13:31

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 1:27PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I think everyone starts by picking them too early, they color up faster than other fruits and it throws you off.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 1:48PM
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For all berry types, wait until a few fall on the ground; then there are definitely ripe ones on the canes--they will pick off with no pulling effort.

Commercial blackberry harvesting machines shake the row and the ripe berries fall off onto conveyor belts. Try shaking the berry cluster with a container held beneath to get the ripest berries. Or just bend the berry sideways without doing any pulling--ripe berries will come right off.

If you can't get a good-flavored Marion, your growing conditions may be the cause. It often wins blindfold flavor tests.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 1:06AM
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How much of an effect does chilling the berries have over eating them right off the plant? I tried a loganberry this morning that appeared ripe (e.g. turned dusky purple, the berry was soft, and detached easily) and it was OK but not much different from the thorny boysenberry. Would chilling the berries first bring out more of the flavor? In contrast, I had my first handful of Caroline Raspberries from the garden and just off of the plant and those were actually sweet, different from the raspberries in the grocery store. Strange. Maybe my taste buds are defective...

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Well, not defective, but maybe different from most people. What is the source of past berries that you are unfavorably comparing your current crop to?

There is much folklore about certain wild fruits getting sweeter after the first frost, but I don't know the science of it.

Eating chilled berries will result in less perceived flavor, but you were referring to eating frozen fruit that is then warmed back up.

I would say that baking or cooking berries (with a small amount of sweetening) improves the flavor more than chilling.

You described a ripe Loganberry.

Grocery store raspberries might be harvested slightly under-ripe so they are firm--people don't want to buy cartons with a crushed, mushy layer on the bottom.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:54PM
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I finally got a few ripe ones...yeh! The ripe marionberries have been simply amazing compared to what I have been used to eating. A full, rich flavor that seems to hang around for a minute after eating it. After all of the tart, under ripe berries I ate, I was pleasantly stunned. Thanks to the forum for encouraging me to let the berries hang around a little longer.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 10:49PM
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Did you have to do something to protect those plants in the winter or did they overwinter fine in your zone? I ask because I'd like to try some western trailing blackberries in my 6B zone but have received conflicting reports about hardiness.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 11:26AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Click on the My Page of scottfsmith above and search the past posts. There is info about hardiness of the western trailing types in a climate similar to yours.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 11:45AM
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Thanks, fruitnut. I've seen his posts before. Very informative and interesting. I was just looking for a second person's experience.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 12:26PM
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Last winter I kept all of the western trailing berry plants in pots and brought them inside when the temps dropped below 15F. Essentially they were outside all winter but 2 weeks. I had 14 plants in pots and all produced fruit this year and only one, a marion, had cane damage. This year I have actually planted most of them in the ground and will cover them up with something to protect them. I'm between a 6A and 6B zone, about 15 miles west of Cincinnati in Northern KY. I have multiples planted of the following: loganberry, marionberry, kotata, wild treasure (only 1), and black diamond (only 1). I'm going to keep a few potted just in case things go badly.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Thanks, jtburton. I'm actually in Cincinnati for the Summer as our daughter is receiving a bone marrow transplant at Children's.

That being said, I think our climate here and where we live outside of St. Louis is very similar. It'll be interesting to see how your plants do.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 1:52PM
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Im currently in a 6A and I left all my boysenberry thorny outside all winter. Very minor dieback on a few tips which was negligible. Marionberries are known for not being very hardy though id watch out for those. Plus the boysens were in 5 gallon pots, all have 4-8 new canes and existing canes in the 8-12 foot range.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 3:20PM
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drewbym - If you are going to be around for several weeks longer in Cincy and you are interested, you are welcome to stop by and checkout my plantings. Just PM me your email and I'll reply with my contact info.

ABz5b - Unfortunately, the marions were by far the best tasting of my trailing blackberries. I'm not sure that I had enough Boysen to form an opinion on taste. The birds have been unkind.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 4:30PM
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Nothing wrong with Marion. I personally like the taste used to eat them all the time when I was in Oregon. Boysens I think are slightly better. Their downfall is they have to be eaten at the height of freshness to get the full effect.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 3:40AM
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I didn't get a lot of berries off of my thorny boysens this year because I planted them so late last year, but the berries I did get were not as dynamic in taste as everyone as described. They were OK, kind of a sweet/tart but they weren't rich in flavor. I suppose there could be a number of reasons why the flavor varied, but I'm adding a couple more plants from another nursery to make sure I have the right plants to start with. I never thought about the plants not being the right ones until about 2 weeks ago when I noticed that the 3 kotata berry plants I ordered this spring did not look like the 2 kotata berry plants I ordered last fall - from the same online nursery. The plants I ordered this spring have grown erect canes and have fewer but larger thorns, whereas the plants from my fall purchase have been trailing from the start and are covered in smaller but numerous purple thorns.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 10:09AM
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