How to Clean Blackberries After Picking

Updated on February 17, 2020
Craftymarie profile image

Marie is a keen gardener and loves to forage for wild berries in the Fall as well as grow food to eat.

How to clean blackberries after picking them. Tips on getting these fruit really clean without ruining them. Plump juicy blackberry fruit are wonderful for delicious puddings, drinks and treats.
How to clean blackberries after picking them. Tips on getting these fruit really clean without ruining them. Plump juicy blackberry fruit are wonderful for delicious puddings, drinks and treats. | Source

We're very lucky to have a wonderful, big blackberry bush right at the end of our backyard which provides food for us and also for our visiting garden birds who love to share and indulge in our abundant crop of plump, sweet and juicy blackberries.

Every year we get a harvest of these sweet and slightly tangy berries that are used fresh in homemade fruit pies, crisps, smoothies, ice cream, cake and cookie icing and frosting, fruit salads, juice and just as they are.

There are always so many blackberries that we have to end up freezing them in freezer bags, which gives us a great supply that we can dip into throughout the year.

Being small, and also prone to breaking easily once they are fully ripe and bursting with juice, they're fragile and not at all easy to clean well unless you know how. If you wash them too harshly, you'll end up with a wasted mush that no one will want to eat.


Can you see the wriggly worm in the photo below? If you don't wash your blackberries carefully after picking them, this is what you will be eating!

How to get worms out of blackberries by washing them clean carefully in water
How to get worms out of blackberries by washing them clean carefully in water | Source

See How to Get Worms Out of Blackberries and Get Them Really Clean!

The big problem with wild or home blackberries that you pick is that there are always a number of really teeny tiny bugs, worm like creatures and caterpillars that hide out in these fruits. You probably don't want to be biting in to these!.

Even more reason for these fruits to be getting a jolly good wash and clean. Here's my tips on how to wash them well without spoiling your harvest.

Cleaning Materials:

  • Freshly picked blackberries
  • Tap water
  • A large bowl
  • A colander or sieve
  • Paper or cloth towel for drying
  • Vinegar (optional)

Instructions on How to Wash and Clean Blackberries

  1. Some people recommend just rinsing blackberries in a colander or a sieve to clean them. This is definitely not what I recommend because I know from experience that you can still end up with little bugs remaining and hiding in the fruit if you try to wash them this way.

    What they need for a proper clean is a good soak. Fill up a large bowl of tepid or cool water and gently place your berries into the bowl. If you put your berries in first, before adding the water, you can end up breaking some with the heavy stream of water coming into the bowl.

    You can just use water to clean them which is what I normally do. Some people swear by adding in some vinegar into the water to properly clean and surface sterilize them. I like to use apple cider vinegar, especially an organic version which is said to be a healthy and beneficial addition to our diet. However, you need 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar if you do choose to do this with your soak.
  2. Once the blackberries are in the bowl, use your hands to gently swirl the berries around. This action should result in many of the bugs and unwanted bits floating to the top of the water.

    Sometimes I get caterpillars, which look like little worms, floating to the top. You can then easily see these to scoop them out with a little cup or spoon and remove them. Normally they are a light color and show up easily against the dark berries.
  3. Carefully tip the blackberries into a sieve or a colander, dispose of the water and then repeat the soaking process again. I do a total of 3 good soaks before draining off in a colander or sieve for the last time.

    It is a bit laborious but I like to know that my blackberries are nice and clean. After going to all the trouble of picking them, it is worth spending time making sure that they are well washed.
  4. To dry your fruit, you can leave them to air dry for a while and then spread paper towels or a fabric cloth onto a large tray and carefully tip or scoop out the berries on top of this.

    The paper or fabric will help to soak up some of the remaining moisture from washing. However, please note that the dark berry juice can stain a fabric towel or cloth so you may prefer to use disposable paper ones instead.
  5. The last process for me is to sort the blackberry fruit out. I like to first pick out the mashy and broken berries to use in refreshing drinks and smoothies since they are going to get mashed up in the blender anyway.

    Alternatively I can use mushy ones for frosting and icing for baking. I can also use them for fruit preserves. The nice and whole fresh berries will be put aside to use in fruit pies or crisps, trifles and fruit salads, whatever I want to make.

    Whatever I do not need immediately will be frozen in bags of around 20-30 berries. They freeze very well and, though they are a little mushy once defrosted, they are perfectly good enough to use in recipes such as apple and blackberry crisp crumble, smoothies, homemade ice cream, and cupcake frosting throughout the year.

Blackberries make delicious shakes and refreshing drinks mixed and blended up with milk, ice cream or yogurt.
Blackberries make delicious shakes and refreshing drinks mixed and blended up with milk, ice cream or yogurt. | Source

© 2013 Marie

What do you like to use blackberries for? Please share your favorite methods of eating this fruit below.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      2 weeks ago

      I soaked blackberries overnight to clean but on rinsing, most of the juice had leached into water leaving pinkish (not black) fruit, lacking flavour.

    • profile image

      Paul McMenamin 

      24 months ago

      Ooh, forgot to mention, blackberry & apple pie, or crumble, with a nice big dollop of vanilla ice cream on top.

      I'm salivating thinking of it. Yummy!!

    • profile image

      Paul McMenamin 

      24 months ago

      Soak them in salty water overnight and the rise twice. My mum used to do that and it always worked to clean blackberries and get the worms and bugs out. Easy peasy.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I make blackberry custard. There are too many pips in them for me, so after I've soaked the berries i pass them through a fine sieve. Then add to custard. Or whizz in ice cold milk.

    • profile image

      Alyssa aged11 

      2 years ago

      I picked some blackberries with my brother and I was wondering how to clean them

    • Spanish Food profile image

      Lena Durante 

      3 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Blackberries grow over our fence from the neighbor's yard, but most of them don't ever make them to the kitchen! I just pick them and eat them straight off the vine.

      They do bruise easily, so I agree that you should never put them in a colander, because the little holes will cut up and burst your berries! Swirling them in a bowl is definitely the way to go.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Thank you so very much! My son and I just came home with our first tub of blackberries here in the Netherlands and much to our dismay we discovered an abundance of caterpillars/grubs. Yuck! We are now on our second soak and hope to make some delicious grub-free smoothies later :) Thanks for the information. I was truly about to give this batch to the birds.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great article. Thanks so much for the advice!

    • Craftymarie profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @ecogranny: Yes, washing too vigorously is not good with soft berries unless you don't mind them all mashed up of course. Thank you for your visit :)

    • Craftymarie profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Brite-Ideas: Thanks, especially as they are a favorite fruit of mine!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Excellent tips. I must admit, I have long washed my berries in a colander and always ended up with far too many mashed and broken because I sprayed them so long. Your way is so much smarter! Thank you for sharing this.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      wow, you are very fortunate to have your own Blackberry Bush - wonderful

    • Craftymarie profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Joanna14: Mmm, blackberry jam is divine. I like that spread in the middle of large sandwich cakes or baked as a hidden surprise inside cupcakes - best served still warm. Thank you and no it's not always obvious how best to clean certain fruits without destroying them.

    • Joanna14 profile image

      Christine Hulme 

      6 years ago from SE Kent, England

      Actually this is very helpful advice, because I know from experience that it's not as easy to do as you might think. Good idea and yes- I love picking my own blackberries and making mostly jam!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)