The poet Robert Graves wrote of berries:
No need for bowl or silver spoon
Sugar or spice or cream
Has the wild berry plucked in June…
Berries are at their best during the summer months, whether they're eaten in a pie, pastry, parfait, or—as Graves prefers—by the handful. Particularly ripe for the picking are wild blueberries, which reach their peak in late July in New England (Maine being the country's leading producer of blueberries). Huckleberries, the sweet and tart wild-growing cousin of the blueberry, are picked all through August in the Northwest. Raspberries, be they black, gold, or red, are also exceptional picks during the summer months, peaking in June in warmer climates and in July in cooler areas. Blackberries, with their shiny midnight skin, aren't ready for picking until the end of the summer, with a season that lasts well into September in cooler areas.
Featured Berry Recipes
- Be careful to choose brightly colored berries without telltale signs of mishandling, such as soft spots and discoloration. Don't be afraid to give containers a shake—berries stuck together too tightly could be joined by mold.
- Examine the berries after purchasing. Most berry containers include a small tissue at the bottom; if it seems too moist, move the berries to a clean, dry container.
- Berries can be stored for approximately two to three days in the fridge or frozen for longer keeping.
Where to Buy
Berries can be purchased in supermarkets year-round and at farmers' markets when in season; they can be picked wild, too. An array of berries can be found at Melissa's Produce.