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There are two varieties of blueberries in Germany. One is the cultivated blueberry, which is grown in gardens, and the other is the forest blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). The harvest period of both types of berries does not differ much. In July, the time has usually come and you can go into the forest or the garden to pick the blueberries.

Harvest blueberries

forest blueberry

When exactly Vaccinium myrtillus mature in the forest depends entirely on the location. The shrubs grow very low and therefore get little light, but the brighter and warmer they are, the earlier they mature. It is not possible to say exactly when a blueberry stand in the forest is ready to be harvested. So it's worth checking back often. In the forest, blueberries ripen evenly, all berries are ready to be harvested at the same time. For this reason, blueberry combs were often used for harvesting in the past. This is no longer allowed today, as it also removes the leaves from the berry bushes. The harvest season for forest blueberries extends to the end of August.

cultivated blueberry

The blueberries growing in the garden are descended from American varieties (Vaccinium corymbosum). They differ from forest blueberries in their size and the flesh that is not colored throughout. Only the skin is blue, the inside of cultivated blueberries is white, transparent, slightly greenish or pale blue. In addition, they are not quite as aromatic as their wild relatives in this country. For this reason, it is particularly worthwhile to only harvest them when they are fully ripe. They are best picked by hand.

ready for harvest

Blueberries do not continue to ripen after harvesting, like apples or pears, for example. When harvesting, care must be taken to ensure that each berry is deep blue and frosted, only then is it worth picking. They then easily detach from the bush and taste sweet and aromatic. The riper the berries become, the easier they detach from the bush until they eventually fall off by themselves.

Birds don't care about the perfect time to harvest, they eat blueberries as soon as they start turning blue. In order not to lose ripe fruit, it is worth protecting the berry bushes with a net against bird damage.

harvest period

Most blueberry varieties ripen from July to September, but there are also very early and very late varieties. In the case of cultivated blueberries, it also depends on the location how quickly the berries ripen on the bush. In contrast to the forest blueberry, not all the fruits on the bush ripen at the same time. It must therefore be picked several times, approximately every week, depending on the weather.

Blueberries stay fresh for some time and freeze well too. The harvest can thus be collected over a longer period of time when a larger quantity of berries is required.

Harvest time of the most common blueberry varieties in the garden at a glance

  • `Goldtraube´, high-yielding and large-fruited variety: late ripening from August - September
  • `Bluecrop´, variety for semi-shady locations: long harvest time from the end of July to September
  • `Earlyblue´, early ripening variety: ripens in early July - September
  • `Duke´, variety with regular and high yields: early ripening from July - August
  • `Elisabeth´, very tasty fruits: late ripening from mid-August to mid-September
  • `Spartan´, variety with striking autumn colours: mid-July
  • `Hortblue Petite´, new variety : bears twice, late July - late August and from September until frost

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