• What color should the raspberry be when I pick it?
I often get asked at what stage (or color) of the raspberry should the berry be picked. The answer will vary with what you plan to do with the berries once you take them home.
The darkest purple berry is the most mature and has the highest sugar content. You will never find these berries in the local grocery store as they are too fragile for shipping and would have a very short shelf life. These berries are excellent for immediate consumption or jam/jelly making. I also think you get more for your money when you select these berries, because they tend to pack down into the pint containers as you pick them.
The dark red berries are an excellent choice for longer storage in your refrigerator or for freezing. Keep in mind that the berries will retain their shape and last longer in your refrigerator if you do NOT wash them. When you are ready to eat the berries, take the portion of the raspberries out of the refrigerator that you want to consume and give them a light rinse with water.
The red berries (just a shade below the dark red berries) are the most durable raspberries. If you want to see the shape of the berry in your cooking efforts, such as topping a cheese cake with fresh raspberries, this would be the ideal type of berry to pick.
Pink berries…not ready yet to pick!
• Should I put sugar on my raspberries?
Ah, that is a matter of taste. Raspberries offer a complexity of taste tones. Try a few before you put sugar (or sugar substitute) on them. Then adjust the sweetness level to your taste.
• How do I freeze raspberries?
To freeze a raspberry is to save a bit of summer for those long days of winter. The most important thing to know about freezing berries is that you should NOT wash them. To preserve the shape of the berry in the freezing process, spread the berries out on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and place them in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, transfer them to a zip lock bag and place them back into the freezer. For long term freezer storage I use a vacuum sealer. The vacuum will not crush the shape of the berries, as they are already frozen.
• Where do I look for the best raspberries?
Many excellent raspberries are overlooked because they are lower to the ground. As the berries mature they become heavy and the raspberry cane bends. Gently grasp the cane and lift it up. You will be amazed by the bounty of beautiful raspberries missed by other raspberry pickers!