wikiHow to Pick Blueberries

Blueberry picking is a fun (and usually cheap) way to get blueberries. However, you don't want to stand in the hot sun for hours picking berries and then have them come out too mushy or too sour after all your hard work! Before you go blueberry picking for the first time, there are a few things you should know that will ensure that you get the best berries for your work.


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    Find something to hold your berries. It can be a bucket, a plastic bag, a basket, or some other kind of container. Just make sure the blueberries won't fall out of it.
    • If you carry your berries in a bucket, you may want to add a rope on the bucket so that you can hang it around your neck or over your shoulder. An excellent bucket can easily be made by taking a 1 gallon (3.8 L) plastic milk jug and cutting off 1/2 of the top and sides, making sure you leave the handle part on. You can then put the handle through your belt, and you now have two hands to pick with! Kids - have your parents cut the milk jug for you.
    • Use a bucket to carry your berries ,and you may want to put a plastic bag in it. You can secure the bag with a rubber band. This comes in handy if you fill more than one bucket -- instead of needing a new bucket every time, all you need is a new bag.

    • You can also make a berry-picking bucket out of a piece of string and a 1-quart plastic container (such as an empty yogurt or cottage cheese container). Use a pair of scissors to punch two holes opposite each other near the top of the container. Take a piece of string long enough to fit behind your neck and down to your mid-torso, put an end of the string through each of the holes. Tie or knot the string to secure it. Put the string around your neck with the "bucket" hanging in front, and you'll now be able to pick with both hands!
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    Search for a good bush. If you are picking at a public berry farm, the best bushes are probably towards the back, because the ones in the front have already been picked out by others. A good bush will have many good berries.
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    Start looking for good blueberries. A good berry is round, blue, and the skin should not be cracked. The general rule when it comes to blueberries is "the bigger, the sweeter". Pick them "as is" because they won't sweeten any further after picking.[1] Do not pick berries that are: • White -- these berries have not even begun to ripen yet • Small and hard -- chances are, these berries will be very sour... if you can even chew them at all!
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    Find a good berry, and then pick it. To pick a blueberry, simply attempt to roll it off the stem. Then, either put the blueberry in the bucket or eat it. If it doesn't come off with a very light touch, it's probably not ripe yet. Even if the color is right, it's best to just move on.
    • If you find yourself tempted to eat every blueberry you see, try "one for me, two for the bucket".
    • If you find a "clump" of good berries on one stem, you can try cupping your hand around them, and rubbing them gently to loosen them, and make them fall off. This is a good way to pick more than one at a time, because most of the bad berries will stay on the stem, since they don't come off as easily.

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    Continue picking until you have gotten most of the good berries off the bush.
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    Move on to the next bush, and keep picking until you have all the blueberries you want.
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    Remember to carefully wash all blueberries before consuming.
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  • Remember to leave a few berries on the bush. This is a sign of etiquette to the other pickers and the bush.
  • If you happen to have a French 'myrtille' comb then the job is a whole lot easier. This one was purchased for a few euros at a second-hand market in France, but there were plenty of new ones around in the local hardware shops. The idea is to comb the blueberry bush with it and the berries fall into the trough. It makes blueberry picking much faster, but you may need to sort through the berries later.
  • As usual when you are out in the sun for significant time, it is recommended the you apply SPF 30 or higher sunscreen on skin to protect against the sun's ultraviolet rays.
  • A technique called winnowing can be used to remove the small leaves and twigs that are easily picked up while picking blueberries. For this you will need another bucket and a good breeze. Gently pour the blueberries from one bucket to the other, leaving space so that the lighter leaves and twigs are caught by the wind, while the more aerodynamic blueberries fall into the bottom bucket.


  • Blueberries stain fingers! After picking for a while, you may notice sticky blue smudges on your hands. You may want to have a moist wipe on hand to clean off your fingers.
  • Not only do they stain fingers, they can also stain clothes. Don't wear your favorite shirt berry picking, and try not to wear anything light colored.
  • Blueberries are popular with other creatures too. If picking blueberries in a wilderness area, keep an eye out for wildlife, and go picking in a group of people. If you're in an area that's known to have black bears be extra careful, as these are known blueberry lovers! Remember, even deer can be dangerous when startled in close quarters. Make plenty of noise, talk with companions or whistle a tune while picking, so that you and any nearby wildlife don't have any nasty surprises.
  • Do not wear sunglasses when picking blueberries! The tint in the glasses will cause you to mistakenly pick a lot of under ripe berries.
  • When walking through the bushes, you may step on fallen berries, and squish them all over your shoes. Be careful where you step after walking on berries!

Things You'll Need

  • Blueberry bush
  • Container for berries (like a bucket)
  • SPF 30 or higher sunscreen (recommended)
  • Plastic bag (opt.)
  • Rubber band (opt.)
  • Moist wipe, to remove berry juice (opt.)
  • Suntan lotion & bug repellent (opt.)

Sources and Citations

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