Picking raspberries: when & how?


I studied Biology and Horticultural Science. I love plants that grow in the wild and in gardens, especially those that are edible. In fact, my favourite pastime is visiting forests and city parks to see which useful plants they hide - you just need to know how to spot the ones that are valuable in the kitchen.
My passion for foraging also pairs perfectly with my second hobby: cooking!

Favourite fruits: figs, persimmons and juneberries
Favourite vegetables: pumpkin, savoy cabbage and shallots

Plump and glowing red, a raspberry on the bush is an invitation to enjoy a treat. For the ultimate taste experience, it pays to pick the raspberries at the right time.

Person picking raspberries
The raspberry’s taste is determined by the time of harvest [Photo: VH-studio/ Shutterstock.com]

The raspberry (Rubus idaeus), with its vibrant colours, is one of the most popular summer fruits. It is wonderfully refreshing on hot summer days with its sweet and fruity taste. The great thing about raspberries from your own garden is that they can be picked at the ideal moment of ripeness, i.e. when they develop their full flavour. We explain how to tell when raspberries are ready to be picked.

When are raspberries in season?

The best time to harvest raspberries differs depending on the variety. While most summer raspberries are harvested between the beginning of June and the end of July, the harvest time for fall raspberries can extend from mid-August into the fall. So-called Twotimer raspberries usually bear a smaller amount of fruit in both summer and fall. There are early, medium-early, medium-late and late varieties in both summer and fall raspberries. Depending on the course of the spring and weather conditions, the harvesting of early-ripening summer raspberries begins around the end of May and lasts until mid-June. The late-ripening summer raspberries bear their fruit around the end of July.

The procedure for autumn raspberries is similar. The early autumn raspberries, from varieties such as ‘Autumn Bliss’, can be harvested from August, depending on the course of the year. The later fall varieties, which need to be protected from the fall rains with a canopy, sometimes do not ripen until September or even into October.

So, by growing several varieties, you can have a supply of delicious raspberries from June into the fall. An overview of the different raspberry varieties can be found here.

The ripening time of raspberries often varies greatly depending on the weather conditions, regardless of the variety. Therefore, it is often unfortunately not possible to rely on the general time frame information for knowing when to pick raspberries. It is better to find out the perfect time yourself. In general, it can be said that raspberries are ripe when they can be easily detached from the bush without much pulling and crushing.

How to tell when raspberries are ready to be picked?

  • The fruits are vibrant and evenly colored.
  • They feel soft when pressed with a finger.
  • The raspberries can be easily detached from the stalk.
  • A slight raspberry scent is present.

Tip: The size of the raspberries does not determine whether the berries are ripe or not. After all, the size depends mainly on the raspberry variety, as well as on the water supply and pruning measures of the plant.

Tips for picking raspberries

When the first raspberries are ripe for picking, it is a good idea to be patient and pick only those berries that come off the bush easily. The others will taste much better in a few days.

Unripe raspberries will not ripen later. Already ripe raspberry fruits need to be processed or eaten quickly, as they do not keep long. It is best to cut the raspberries with their cones, which prevents them from collapsing or crushing. Alternatively, you can freeze and store raspberries, especially medium-ripe berries, if you pick large quantities at once.

Pick the raspberries very carefully. The fruit is sensitive to pressure and easily crushes if handled roughly. An air-permeable container in which the fruit is best placed side by side is suitable for storage.

It is also advisable to wear longer clothing and gardening gloves when picking raspberries from heavily prickled bushes. Harvest raspberry bushes continuously, as ripe fruit rots quickly and is more easily attacked by raspberry pests such as the cherry vinegar fly (Drosophila suzukii). This provides a regular supply and also prevents the spread of raspberry diseases.

If the bush and fruit show signs of fungal infestation or other raspberry diseases, remove the fruit immediately and do not eat it. In addition, cut back the affected canes immediately.

Tip: For a rich and aromatic raspberry harvest, the right soil is essential. We recommend our Plantura Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, which is not only peat-free and sustainable, but also provides optimal care for your fruit.

Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, 40L
Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, 40L
  • Perfect for tomatoes & other vegetables such as chillies, courgettes & more
  • For strong & healthy plant growth as well as an abundant vegetable harvest
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Care for raspberries after harvest

After successfully picking your raspberries, continue to devote attention to the raspberry plant. In order to harvest abundantly next year, you will have care for it accordingly. Pruning the raspberries, will therefore be an important part of caring for your raspberry plants. This can be done at different times of the year, depending on whether it is summer or autumn raspberries.

In order for the bush to gain strength for the next year after the harvest, fertilize the raspberry plant in June or July, after the harvest of summer raspberries or at the time of the autumn raspberries’ flowering. Organic fertilizers, such as our Plantura Liquid Tomato Food, are best for this. This completely organic liquid fertilizer is particularly environmentally friendly and can simply be added to the watering water. With its balanced NK ratio and its proportion of living microorganisms, it ensures healthy growth as well as the development of your raspberry, making it fit for the next year.

Liquid Tomato Food, 800ml
Liquid Tomato Food, 800ml
  • Perfect for tomatoes & other vegetables
  • Liquid fertiliser for healthy plant growth & an abundant harvest
  • Quick & easy application - child & pet friendly

Even if you don’t have your own garden, there is no need to go without the freshly picked berries. Raspberry plants in pots can also be grown on the balcony or terrace.

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