Sweet-tart raspberries are a delicate summer fruit that’s worth the wait.
SEASON: Early summer through fall, depending on where the berries are grown
CHOOSING: When it comes to raspberries, it doesn’t pay to plan too far ahead. Raspberries are delicate and highly perishable. Select berries that are firm without signs of juice stains or mold.
STORING: Mold can appear within hours if raspberries are not handled properly. Refrigerate unwashed berries as soon as you get them home. Use or freeze them within two days of purchase, rinsing them gently just before use.
GROWING: Raspberries grow on canes that are often arching and thorny. A trellis helps maintain an orderly planting and makes berry picking, mulching, fertilizing, and weed control less prickly. They need cold weather, so they’ll be challenging to grow in the warmest regions of the country. Heritage is a variety that does well in borderline areas.
Ever-bearing red and yellow raspberries can produce fruit twice each season. Canes that grew the previous year will produce berries in late spring or early summer. Once berries are picked, prune the canes back to soil level. New canes will emerge and bear a second delicious crop in the fall. After harvest, don’t trim them back; they’ll produce again the following spring.
Black and purple raspberries grow in a clump and produce one crop of berries each year in summer. Cutting back the canes the first year to force branching means more fruit the following summer. As with red raspberries, the canes will die after they fruit; remove them at the soil level. At the same time, prune only new canes to 2 to 3 feet to encourage branching.
Pick raspberries in the morning when the berries are sweetest. A shallow basket lined with a clean paper towel is ideal.The berries are fragile and won’t tolerate the weight of many berries on top of them.