The Q&A Archives: Picking Strawberries

Question: This may be a silly question, but is there any special way to pick strawberries and when do I know that they are ready to be picked?

Answer: Not silly at all - and probably better demonstrated than described, but I'll do my best. Strawberries become sweeter the longer they remain on the plant, but they can become mushy if not picked at the peak of maturity. I generally base my decision on color. Bright, glossy red, with no white at all. If you watch berries ripen, you'll notice they begin to change color at the shoulders, with the red color traveling down to the tip. As soon as the tip is fully red, the berry is at the peak of perfection. They won't ripen off the plant so don't pick too soon. Experience will help you determine when to pick. If you're growing "everbearing" types, your plants will continue to produce berries all season long. In this case, it's a good idea to keep berries picked so your plant will flower again and produce even more fruit. You can gently pull berries from the plant, or cut them away. If you pull, use one hand to hold the stem and the other to pull the berry. Otherwise you may pull up the entire plant by accident.

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