Blackberries are one of the most commonly grown fruits in Britain and can be found almost everywhere, from woods and gardens to roadsides. Whether you eat them fresh from the blackberries or cooked into pies and cakes, washing the flavorful berries is essential to remove hidden pests and germs. Though a quick rinse under the tap might seem like a good way to wash the plump little fruit, one expert revealed it’s not enough for a “proper cleaning,” and shared her top tips for washing soft, ripe blackberries without them to crush you.
There’s nothing quite like eating blackberries that have been plucked straight from the garden or gathered in the wild, but unlike treated supermarket fruit, they can often be infested with bugs and worms.
While the fresh flavors and natural sweetness are second to none, you probably don’t want to eat the nasty creatures that hide in homegrown berries.
According to Marie, a gardening expert at Delishably, the texture of blackberries makes them difficult to clean well because if you wash them too vigorously, they’ll all break apart and get ruined.
Luckily, she has an easy solution to get the job done without damaging fresh berries.
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How to clean blackberries
Once you’ve picked your blackberries, it’s best not to snack on them until they’ve been properly cleaned.
Marie explained that a “good soak” is much more effective than just rinsing them in a colander, as it draws out the little bugs that “hide” in the fruit.
To clean your berries, start by filling a large bowl with cold water and carefully pouring the fruit into it.
It’s important to add the blackberries after the water so they don’t break down from the pressure of the water.
Colorful caterpillars or other small, worm-like bugs are easily removed from the water with a cup or sponge and are generally easy to identify by the dark blackberries.
After removing the bugs, gently tip the blackberries into a colander to get rid of the water and repeat the soaking method again.
According to Marie, three soaks is the optimal amount to completely remove unwanted creatures from your blackberry harvest.
After soaking, drain the berries one last time and let them air dry in the colander.
Finally, spread out some clean tea towels and gently place the fruit on top to remove excess moisture as it dries.
Eating freshly picked blackberries in a few days is the best way to enjoy the fruit at its best, although they can be frozen to extend their shelf life.
Store clean, dry berries in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
For a long supply beyond harvest time, freeze berries in bags for use in home cooking later in the year.
While the berries freeze very well, they can get mushy once thawed, so they taste best in crumbles, smoothies, or other blended recipes.
Simply place 20-30 washed and dried berries in freezer bags and place in a safe part of the freezer with nothing on top of the berry fruit.