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.
Fruit Harvesting Calendar – When to Pick Fruit Month by Month
The following list identifies which fruit you can harvest each month:
- June – gooseberries, redcurrants, rhubarb, strawberries.
- July – blackcurrants, 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.
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How to Tell if a Fruit is Ripe for Picking
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 to know when fruit is ready to pick:
- 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. The fruits are ready to harvest in July.
- 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.