Highbush blueberry cluster beginning to ripen
image by Aconcagua/Wikimedia Commons
The highbush blueberry plant is native to North America and has fed Native Americans, settlers and foragers throughout American history. According to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, this plant was domesticated in the early 1900s by Elizabeth White and Dr. Frederick Coville. You can now grow this antioxidant-rich fruit in your own garden or forage for them throughout portions of the United States. By knowing when to harvest them, you can enjoy a fresh crop or store them for any time of the year.
Familiarize yourself with the blueberry harvesting periods for your area. The blueberry harvesting period begins in mid-April in southeastern regions, such as Florida, but extends into August as far north as Maine. July is National Blueberry Month, which coincides with peak harvest times.
Watch for fruit development two to three months after your bushes have grown springtime blossoms.
Pick blueberries from the bush one to three days after they have turned blue, as this allows time for maturation of their full flavor. Berries with any trace of red coloring are not yet ripe enough for picking.
Harvest your blueberries weekly for up to six weeks, depending on the individual plant. The clusters of berries do not ripen at the same time, so weekly harvesting ensures an ideal crop.