Home > Fruit Gardening > When to Harvest Fruit

When to Harvest Fruit

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 1 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Harvesting Fruit Ripe Fruit Picking

If you grow your own fruit you will look forward to huge harvests of delicious fresh fruit. But how do you know when it’s ready?

Most fruits are ready to harvest in the summer and you can tell when they’re ready by gently squeezing them before picking them. Some fruits, such as pears, need to be harvested before they are ripe, as they will develop a gritty consistency if they are allowed to ripen on the tree.

You can normally tell when bush and cane fruit are ripe, as the birds suddenly take an active interest in it, and, if you don’t move quickly, it will all be gone before you’ve had a look in. Generally speaking, however, your fruit will be ready in the same period each year, when it is ‘in season.

The following list identifies which fruit you can harvest each month:

  • June – gooseberries, redcurrants, rhubarb, strawberries
  • July – black currants, cherries, gooseberries, loganberries, raspberries, redcurrants, rhubarb, strawberries, tayberries, white currants
  • August – early-season apples, blackberries, blackcurrants, cherries, plums, raspberries, strawberries, tayberries
  • September – mid-season apples, blackberries, elderberries, plums, raspberries, strawberries
  • October – mid-season apples, elderberries, pears, plums, raspberries, strawberries
  • November – late-season apples
These ripening dates are subject to weather. An extra-warm summer can see blackberries ripening in early July, for example, when they’re normally first seen in late August. Strawberries are not unheard of in May, and if temperatures continue to increase as they have done in recent years, we could be seeing them as late as November.

How to Tell if a Fruit is Ripe
While the above list may tell you can pick redcurrants in June and cherries in July, this doesn’t mean that every fruit on the tree, cane, bush or vine will be ready to pick. You’ll have to use your common sense, when picking, to work out which fruits are ripe (don’t pick green strawberries, for example), but the following tips might make it a little easier:
  • Gooseberry – they will be soft to touch, and red in colour. Pick them under-ripe for use in cooking however, when they are still firm
  • Currants(redcurrant, blackcurrant and white currant) – ripe currants have a deep colour and will be around 8-12mm in diameter
  • Rhubarb – the stems will be long and a deep pink.
  • Strawberries – ripe fruits will be a deep, almost glossy red, and sweet and juicy to taste
  • Cherries – they become firm when ripe, and can usually be plucked from the truss with a simple twist
  • Berries(raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, tayberries) – they will be a rich colour and soft to touch. They will come off the bush easily and taste sweet and juicy
  • Apples – they will fall from the tree easily and be crunchy and full of flavour (some late-season varieties need to be stored to fully develop their flavour)
  • Pears – harvest them when still firm and store in a well-ventilated container until you are ready to eat them. If left to ripen on the tree their flesh can become gritty and their taste is impaired
The main thing to do when looking to harvest your fruit is to regularly inspect it. A good rainfall or spot of sunshine can bring on any fruit, and it’s important to get to the fruit before the birds do and before it becomes spoiled. Harvesting your fruit is a pleasurable and rewarding experience, and so is tasting the fruits of your labour.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I am currently living and Portugal and finishing my last bottle of sloe gin.Does anyone know if the sloe berries are ripe yet in the Wiltshire region?
moi - 1-Sep-17 @ 5:49 PM
@Katey - it's never too late! Especially if the strawberries are plentiful.
Mimi - 22-Aug-17 @ 1:48 PM
Is it too late to make strawberry jam in Lanarkshire at end August. Lots is strawberries still around
Katey - 22-Aug-17 @ 3:19 AM
@Z - they are best left to ripen in the tree and it depends upon the level of ripeness they are at when they fall. They are generally ready in August and September and the darker the greengage, the riper it is. But, you could always make jam, as firm greengages are better.
SomersetLady - 4-Aug-17 @ 10:59 AM
Will green gage plums ripen abit more once picked
Z - 3-Aug-17 @ 2:52 PM
None - Your Question:
When to remove Bramleys.We have a mature Bramley tree, which has a great crop of large cookers. I've always understood that the trick is to twist gently and they will be ready when they require little effort to remove them. Is this so, and will they need further ripening, as you suggest some fruit might do? We used this method for our eaters, and it has been very successful, with no ripening necessary.Thank you.

Our Response:
Yes, you are right. In order to determine when your Bramley is ready to be picked is to gently twist and if the apple doesn't come away easily then it is not ready. Another way to tellis to cut one in half and if the pips are brown they are ready. If you pick too early they may shrivel in storage, too late and they will not store as well. Happy harvesting.
FruitExpert - 20-Sep-16 @ 12:00 PM
When to remove Bramleys. We have a mature Bramley tree, which has a great crop of large cookers. I've always understood that the trick is to twist gently and they will be ready when they require little effort to remove them. Is this so, and will they need further ripening, as you suggest some fruit might do?. We used this method for our eaters, and it has been very successful, with no ripening necessary. Thank you.
None - 19-Sep-16 @ 2:15 PM
l am away from home at present, but have noticed GOOSEBERRIES in the shops, are GOOSEBERRIES good to freeze, my wife love's my GOOSEBERRY jam. if they are freeze-able will get the wife to get me some and store in freezer till my return. Thanks for info
jam-maker - 10-Jul-16 @ 4:52 PM
I have picked a lot of blackcurrants and gooseberries which are not fully ripe (as I lost all of them last year).Please can someone tell me what is the best/easiest thing to do with them? Thanks
Pat - 9-Jul-16 @ 10:58 AM
I have a bushI thought was Blackcurrant as I asked for Blackcurrant & blueberry, last year we had several red currants on it but waited to see if they would go black, they never did the birds got them first, they are red now how do I know if they are red currants or blackcurrants?
Yorkie - 14-Jul-15 @ 2:44 PM
I have a large vine that produces lots of grapes (I've forgotten the variety) which remain small and basically don't ripen. Can I use them to make apple and grape chutney?
Maxithecat - 28-Aug-14 @ 1:46 PM
Rebel_Sheep Those are blueberries :)
Fruity - 17-Jul-14 @ 6:18 PM
when are red valentine apples ready to be picked
vic - 20-Oct-13 @ 7:25 PM
Hi there you use a pictures of sloes, but then the fruit isn't mentioned in the article. I'd like to know when they are ready to harvest and how to tell if they are ripe. Thanks
rebel_sheep - 12-Aug-13 @ 2:39 AM
Can you ripen blackcurrants off the vine? Finding the right window of opportunity to harvest odd fruit here and there is difficult. Now, some of the fruit is ripe and some nearly ripe, and some nowhere near. When picking ripe fruit, sometimes unripe fruit is dislodged and I don't want to discard it. Will it ripen on a windowsill?
Mel0465 - 8-Jul-12 @ 11:36 AM
With berries, you're right, they need to come off the stem easily. But at the same time, you have to catch them in the brief window before they begin to become too squishy, which can really be a problem with raspberries. Though you gives months for each type of fruit, a lot is going to depend on the weather. A cold, wet spring is going to set harvesting times back quite a bit, and will also affect the size of the crop/
David - 25-Jun-12 @ 10:36 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • mick
    Re: Cherry Trees
    Hi I have 2 Stella cherry trees on a dwarf root stock which I planted in February 2019 they have plenty of healthy green leaves on an what appears…
    22 April 2019
  • Bill Haley
    Re: Pear Trees
    Should I cut off the blossom from a first year recently planted pear tree.
    22 April 2019
  • Lindylou
    Re: Peach Trees
    I planted a young potted tree early last year but it got leaf curl so I removed the infected leaves and the tree seemed fine after that but it had no…
    22 April 2019
  • ricardo
    Re: Growing Avocados
    Your advice please. I've grown a seed last year,around July time. It's currently about 26cm tall,but only has 3 leaves at the top. It's usual…
    21 April 2019
  • KittyJay451
    Re: Growing Avocados
    Brought all my plants in for the winter, but all grew leggy and then the leaves turned brown and fell off. Decided to cut the stems back and but…
    21 April 2019
  • Beate
    Re: Plum Trees
    Hi, I planted a Plumtree (Czar) last September and we are now in mid April and it is still not showing any signs of leaves. Is it dead? Or should I wait…
    19 April 2019
  • Jen
    Re: Using Up a Plum Glut
    I have a Chinese plum tree and I was wondering can you use any plum recipe with them, or do they have to be cooked in a certain way. Can you…
    5 April 2019
  • jake47
    Re: Growing Apricots
    Hi i have an apricot i got from aldi (it was labelled as an almond lol)its about 5 years old now 2 years ago i got just 2 fruit ,last year 4 fruit…
    24 March 2019
  • kings
    Re: Growing Grapes
    I Would Like To StarT Grow Grape In My Country Cameroon. Which species Will Be Best And How Can't I Get Them? Thanks. I'll Be Waiting.
    16 March 2019
  • Tina
    Re: Pear Trees
    What comes first blossom or leaves on a robin pear tree please
    15 March 2019