Does it seem that the Blackberry picking season is getting earlier and earlier each year? It was one of my favourite late summer, early autumn outdoor activities to do as a child. But after a walk last night were we were able to pick some it seems that the season has shifted. My kids have been picking them since they were tots and I wanted to put together some top tips for you on picking the blackberries with toddlers and preschoolers. So here you go.

toddler picking blackberries text reads top tips blackberry picking with kids
ddler picking blackberries a fun, free early autumn activity to do with your kids

Blackberries

Although you can get cultivated varieties of blackberries for your own garden, and buy punnets of them in the store, without a doubt the best blackberries are wild and ones that you pick yourself.

toddler picking blackberries in early autumn
Early Autumn Outdoor Activities for Families – blackberry picking follow the top tips below

Blackberry bushes are brambles – they are covered in thorns. But the occasional scratch, if you decide to wear short sleeves, is well worth it because they do taste the best!

Going Blackberry Picking with Kids

When the first blackberry is seen as we walk through the fields near our house the kids get excited (not sure why as they don’t even really like blackberries unless they are in muffins).

I guess it’s because the few that they do manage to pick taste amazing and possibly the best bit, it’s all a little bit messy!

When the blackberries form they are green, then turn to red and as they ripen go-to black. That is the time to pick. Red blackberries may give you a stomach ache.

Looking for a really simple recipe to use them with – add a couple of tablespoons of sugar and then top with our favourite Crumble Mix recipe.

kids picking blackberries from the bush
Our kids picking blackberries from the bush at the end of summer. Was way too hot for long sleeves but these were old clothes.

Tip #1 ~ Wear Old Clothes

Which brings us to our first tip for you and for the kids. Wear old clothes. Shall I say that a little louder WEAR OLD CLOTHES!

I remember coming back as a child purple from the berries. They had squished and squashed all over me and I’d “cleaned” my hands down my jeans a number of times.

My kids were the same – so it was old clothes that they wore for messy play or out in the garden.

TIP #2 ~ Long Sleeves If You Can

Blackberry bushes are full of thorns. To avoid the scratches as long as it’s not too hot we cover up our arms with long sleeves and trousers.

Tip #3 ~ Pick Above Knee Height

So probably above shoulder height for your toddlers but you really want to avoid the lower level blackberries.

child picking blackberries
child picking blackberries

They could be the ideal location for a dog’s toilet!

Tip #4 ~ Wash before you Eat

Because of the reason for Tip #3 we recommend washing before you eat.

I actually used to take a bottle of water to give the blackberries that the kids were picking and eating a quick wash before they popped them in the mouths.

Tip #5 ~ Bring Containers

We’ve picked blackberries on the fly and carried them home in our hands. My daughter came home from summer camp with them in the pocket of her backpack. Neither of which are advisable.

A bag doesn’t work very well either. We’ve found the best are the punnets and boxes that strawberries and raspberries come in from the Pick Your Own or the store.

We pack a few and fill them up. Put the lid on and into our backpack to take home.

Bonus Tip ~ What to do with Squashed and OverRipe Berries

Overripe berries are ideal to use in our basic muffin mix to create blackberry muffins. They are very similar to our strawberry muffins and is an excellent way to use them up.

Blackberry Playdough
Use overripe blackberries to make your own dye for playdough with this simple blackberry playdough recipe.

If you have even more then why not use them to create your own natural blackberry dyed playdough.

Freezing Blackberries for future use

If your kids and family are anything like ours then your bound to get hundreds of blackberries. More than you could bake with at once so we freeze ours.

It’s really easy to do just follow the steps below. That way, as I did as a child you can have delicious blackberry treats and food throughout the autumn months.

How to Freeze Blackberries after Picking Them

  1. In a colander rinse the blackberries under a gentle flow of cold water.
  2. Shake gently to remove excess water.
  3. Separate out leaves, stems and anything else that may be in with your foraged blackberries.
  4. Don’t forget to remove under or overripe berries.
  5. On a baking sheet lay the berries out with space in between.
  6. Place the sheet in the freezer – this will ensure that berries aren’t frozen in clumps.
  7. After 24hrs remove from the freezer and place into a freezable container and keep for up to 6 months.
top tips for blackberry picking with kids pinnable image
Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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