Blackberries are absolute staples of the fruit world, and they’re a fruit you might often end up with a glut of especially during fall. Whether you went blackberry picking with the family, or picked up too many berries in the produce aisle, with punnets and punnets of the fruit sitting around you’ll be asking yourself, ‘How long do blackberries last?’ and ‘Do blackberries go bad?’. Never fear, I’m here to answer those questions!
Although they’re a late summer and fall fruit, blackberries are very soft and therefore delicate. You need to store them just right to keep them fresh and delicious for longer than a day or so. I’ll help with that.
Plus, I’ll chuck a few ideas your way for things to do with blackberries. They’re delicious but also versatile, and a key component of many desserts. I mean, blackberries are delicious as-is but they’re also fantastic cooked and make a perfect pairing with apples and other sweet fruits.
Blackberry bushes, often called brambles, grow incredibly well in the wild and can be found all over parks in the UK and USA amongst many other places. Their fruit ripens fro green to red to dark-purple (almost… black!) any time from July to September.
Picking them is great fun, but do be careful of all the spikes!
As blackberries grow so well in moderate climates, they’re also reasonably priced across much of the world.
Do Blackberries go Bad?
Of course blackberries go bad, I mean, they’re a soft fruit! Depending on how you store them, how fresh they were when you brought them home and the weather in your part of the world, blackberries should last between 3 days and a week before going bad.
As with all fruit and veg, blackberries may not come with a best-by date but you should be able to tell when they’ve gone bad.
How to Store Blackberries?
If you have stored other berries, like strawberries and blueberries, then the instructions for keeping blackberries fresh might seem familiar.
Firstly, search through the punnet or whatever your blackberries came in and find any rotten, soft, or dried out berries. If a berry looks, feels or smells even a little off then get rid of it. Rot spreads easily between berries, and so one bad berry could spoil the whole batch!
It’s important to note that, while obviously you should wash all fruit before eating, you shouldn’t wash them when you get them home. As the berries are so soft and segmented, it’s almost impossible to get them dry once they’ve been washed and that’ll promote rot if they’re boxed up.
Only leave blackberries out if you’re going to finish them all in a day or max two. Soft fruits don’t last long at room temperature.
If you want to keep blackberries a few days or even a week, you’ll need to store them in the fridge. They need air, so make sure the container they’re in is vented. You obviously need to protect your blackberries from getting crushed, so they should be in a hard container. You can store them in a tupperware box or a bowl, just make sure the saran wrap you put over the top is loose so that the berries can breathe.
To extend the shelf-life of your blackberries for as long as possible you should also line the container they’re stored in with paper towels. These will absorb any liquid the berries release, or condensation that builds up on them. Change the paper towels if they seem to be getting particularly damp.
When you want to use your blackberries, remember they haven’t been washed! Wash each portion as you use it.
How Long do Blackberries Last?
Stored carefully in the fridge, your berries should last a minimum of three days and perhaps as long as a week. If you keep them on the countertop, they won’t last nearly as long. Perhaps just one day, maybe two. Luckily, though, blackberries freeze really well!
Can You Freeze Blackberries?
Blackberries freeze fantastically. In fact, they’re one of the most popular options for pre-frozen fruit bought at the grocery store.
Freezing blackberries at home is super easy. If you’re freezing your berries you should wash them first, dry them well but gently remembering that they’re really delicate, and then lay them out in a single layer on a tray before putting them in the freezer. This is the closest you can get to flash freezing at home, and should ensure an even freeze. Once they’re frozen, you can move your blackberries to heavy-duty freezer bags or airtight containers. If you’re using freezer bags be sure to get all the air you can out before sealing them and packing into the freezer.
Blackberries keep for 10-12 months in the freezer at best quality. They will still be edible after that, but may lose some of their flavor.
To defrost blackberries leave them out to thaw for a few hours or dunk them in warm water. You can also cook with frozen blackberries in many recipes.
How to Tell if Blackberries Have Gone Bad
As blackberries are a soft fruit you can tell pretty easily when they’re bad or on the turn.
When blackberries go bad they get very soft. If you aren’t used to blackberries it might be confusing, as blackberries are always pretty soft. But when they’re going bad they really lose integrity physically and become almost mushy.
A blackberry that is just on the turn but hasn’t gone bad yet might lose some of its color. If it seems otherwise fine, then it can probably still be eaten. It’ll simply not be quite as tasty as it once was — maybe a candidate for use in a smoothie or jam.
Fruits may well become crushed, but they can appear that way when they’re off and have given up. On the other hand, the bulbs might totally dry out.
As with most foods, mold on blackberries mean you shouldn’t eat them.
Blackberries are unlikely to smell rotten, but they might get an unusually tangy scent when they’re on the turn.
If you see any of these changes in your blackberries, you might want to throw them out. If you can, try to catch them earlier and freeze them instead!
What to do With Blackberries
Blackberries are a wonderful late-summer treat with ice cream or even on their own. They pair amazingly with apple, too.
Blackberry preserves (or jam) have become popular over the years because they’re a great way to keep your glut of berries around for months or even years after they’re harvested. You can eat the jam on toast, but it’s also a great ingredient in cocktails or even the base of dressings and glazes.
Getting into the winter, blackberries are wonderful ingredients for tarts and crumbles. Cooked blackberries are fantastically rich, and go well with brown sugars and syrups.
They also go well with cheese — which makes them an excellent candidate for a sweet and savory salad.
And if you like keeping it simple, chuck some frozen berries into a smoothie!
There are a lot of blackberries to be had from late summer to early fall, so enjoy them while they’re around!