Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Harvesting your Strawberries

Strawberries ready for harvest

Strawberries ready for harvest

Your first clue to the right time to harvest your berries is the days to maturity that should be on the tags your plants came with. That will give you a rough idea what to expect.

Within that time frame, you’ll know that your berries are ready to be harvested when they’re red all over. That means they’re fully ripened. Once this starts to happen, check out your plants daily to harvest the ripest fruit.

Note that strawberries ripen from the tip toward the leafy stem end. Some varieties have “white shoulders” because the leaves cover the fruit and do not allow for the red color to develop. That doesn’t mean they’re not ripe—if they’re deep red everywhere else, and within the projected time to maturity, it’s time to pick!

Don’t pull on the berries to harvest them—you might damage the plants or pull them partly out of the ground. Keep the green tops intact and snip stems with clean scissors or pruners.

Pick in the cool of the morning, because the fruit will bruise less easily than it will if picked in the heat of the sun. And wait a few days between harvests if you can, to avoid stressing the plants.

Keep freshly picked berries cool, and don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them. They won’t store very long in the refrigerator, so for best results, pick the fruit when it’s dry and put it in the fridge immediately.

Do you know exactly when to harvest your strawberries? Please tell us what you look for when getting ready to harvest.

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