A few horrible tasting blackberries

glenn_russell(6b RI)August 1, 2012

Hi All-

I've bee growing blackberries for a few years. We've always had wild ones in the woods, and then I started with a couple Chester's. Then I put in some Triple Crowns, Doyles, and others. For the most part, all is well... huge, tasty, juicy berries. Yum!

But... I have a problem. With my Triple Crowns and Doyles, perhaps 1 out of 30 of them have an absolutely terrible taste. The taste is so bad, that once a visitor has one of those, they are literally afraid to have another one and simply won't do it. These berries look like any other ripe blackberry with no other visual indication of what is to come.

I don't believe this is a case of them simply being over ripe, as 1.) They don't look overripe. 2.) I'm picking the berries carefully every day. 3.) The taste is for more awful than it simply being over ripe. 4.) I don't think I've ever had the problems with my Chester's.

I asked about this problem last year, and someone suggested that I might have eaten a stink bug. But, I'm now more carefully examining the berries, and it's happened often enough that I'm pretty sure that's not the case (unless he's inside or something). The once or twice I've gotten a look at the inside of the bad berry, I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary.

Does anyone have any idea of what could be going on here? Some sort of disease? Or some other insect inside that's corrupted the berry?



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I ate a raspberry with an ant on it once, and that was really bad. But, ants have a characteristic flavor, not in the least fruity. You could try eating one of the leaves, and compare the taste to a leaf from another blackberry bush.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 2:46PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Do you have any stink bugs among the planting? Tasting one tiny nymph can be awful!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 2:47PM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Hi all-
Are blackberry leaves even edible? My guess is that they'd be fine as I believe other berries from the same area are fine.

I have seen stink bugs here, but very few. If it was a stink bug, could the bug be well inside the berry? Still though, it really seems that the flavor is coming all through the berry and not just in one small area.

Again I say "Blech!!!"

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 2:58PM
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Glenn, sounds as if there is a large infestation of stink bugs going on in the US. Found this link. Mrs. G


    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 3:19PM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

You guys may be right.

On blackberries, stink bugs leave behind a bitter taste in the fruit on which they are feeding. Stink bugs on blackberries are called "bitter bugs."

They damage fruit and vegetables by injecting digestive juice into them and sucking the resultant stew.

This hypothesis falls more in line with what I'm seeing. I.e. I'm not actually eating any stink bugs, but rather, eating a berry which has been damaged by stink bugs.

Is anyone out there spraying their blackberries for stink bugs?

Here is a link that might be useful: Stink Bugs on blackberries.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 3:34PM
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...but you describe the bad berries as undamaged. However, I occasionally detect the stink bug odor in my berry patch, and avoid eating a berry with the odor. Perhaps the odor can dissipate over time but still leave a bad taste.

The entire blackberry plant is edible (minus thorns).

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:19AM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

They get double nasty once know bad flavor stink bug poo.

Boil leaves to make Tea.

On Doyle blackberries berries taste as stink bug poo and bug really like berries in pods.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 1:05PM
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Glenn this is not a good story. After reading your post and the follow ups I have this sinking feeling that my eight new Ouachita blackberries may get infected by 'El Stinko'! Once the berries are set can you spray them? Wouldn't triaz. have any effect on these berries and leaves? Mrs. G

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 10:29AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Hi Mrs G.
I haven't had any stink bug problems this week, so perhaps my original estimate of 1 out of 30 is incorrect, as I've probably eaten 400 since then!
I only looked briefly, but it appears that you may be able to spray with Permithrin, which may have only a 1 day PHI. That might work... but I'm reluctant to spray it... seems like a lot of work, for only a short about of benefit if you have to do it every day.
I'd wait until you discover that you do indeed the have the problem before resorting to spraying. When you bite that first bitter stink berry, you can think of me. Ha! :-)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 11:33AM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

I plant trap crop for stink bug in fall well at labor day week my zone 8b every zone lower back up month to three weeks. I kill all stink bug down none year after like 2013 next year 2014 they be 3-5 spotted 2015 8-10. I been using this method seance 1980 because 4 plants they feed on Beans snap, sweet corn silver queen, pecans and blaackberries.
My trap crop turnup greens and Fla. broad leaf mustard.
In my location a lot soybeans are grown once leaves of soybean begin loose color stink bug look for there feeding plant one rich green color reason time to have that plant. Pecans nut have black spot on colonial which bitter that stink bug poo also. Bug leave every crop go to turnups I monitor there feeding on greens by fling over top and short swarm walking through green patch make some move in afernoon hours. I spray with permithrin in 2 hours I enjoy walk back through greens see them on there backs PHI one day on greens I way 3 day before harvesting any it don't take a large planting to draw bug.

Other trap crops work they need fit as last green bitter crop season.

Stink bug leave as 40 degree at night come so control be before spotty frost comes.

Bitter parts plants pecans nut shuck. beans leaves, corn shuck of ear and blackberries fruit in green stage. Turnups leaves before first good cover Frost after not so bitter.

After first cover frost are just before they move inside building cracks to over winter. Next spring lay eggs for that year stink bug crop.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 1:13PM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

I just went out and tried a blackberry leaf. I think I'll stick to the berries from now on. :-)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 3:52PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

You use the leaf to make Tea blackberry tea. Pick filled out young leaves.

I like blackberry dumplings best make dumpling same as chicken dumpling. Berry juice as in cobbler.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 5:22PM
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