Idaho grows a variety of different berries including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. If you are out foraging you can find non-domesticated huckleberries.
The first berries to become available in late May or early June, depending on the weather. Idaho strawberries are best recognized by their rich red color, small fruit and sweetest flavor. Locally grown berries taste better than strawberries grown and imported from out of state which are harvested while still green to allow time for transportation. Local strawberries are picked only when fully ripened to allow for the sweetest fruit available.
What to Look For: This berry is quick to spoil, so be sure to choose plump, dense, red berries with green caps that are attached firmly to the fruit. Since strawberries don’t ripen after they’ve been picked, avoid dull-colored berries and ones with yellow or green patches on their skin.
Idaho blueberries come from a long lived, perennial, wooded shrub. Our warm summers and cool nights are perfect for growing big firm tasty berries. Blueberries, like apricots and other fruits, require a cooling off period to develop tight firm skins and higher levels of natural sugars that are produced inside the berry adding flavor and color. Idaho also has a small quantity of rocky mountain blueberries. This variety is native to the inter-mountain west but rarely cultivated and available mid-June.
What to Look For: Choose berries that are firm and have a uniform color with a whitish bloom. Shake the container to make sure berries move freely about; if not, this may indicate that the fruit is soft, damaged or moldy.
There are two seasons for raspberries in Idaho. Some varieties begin ripening around the end of June, just as strawberries are finishing up. Other varieties come on in August and are available until the first frost in the fall.
What to Look For: Once raspberries are picked they will not ripen any further which makes it important to pick ripe, local raspberries. Be sure to buy berries that are rosy red and do not come tightly packed into a container, as this can damage the fruit.
Blackberries are the last berry to harvest around the middle of August. Blackberries are not grown commercially in Idaho, but many small farmers and backyard gardeners grow and sell them directly to consumers.
What to Look For: Be extra selective when choosing blackberries. You’ll want to make sure the container is free of juice stains—a sign that the berries could be crushed and moldy. Also make sure the fruit is firm to the touch, as opposed to soft and watery, which indicates that they are overripe.
How to Store: First, discard any bruised or moldy berries before storing. Keep berries in their plastic containers and refrigerate. Wash only when ready to eat and enjoy, as excess moisture during storage can cause decay and molding.
Tasty Tip: To enjoy berries year around, freeze them or turn them into delicious jams and jellies.
- Idaho grows a variety of berries in various areas of the state, but huckleberries can only be found growing wild in the mountain areas of north Idaho.
- Idaho berries are a great low-calorie, high-fiber snack. They are abundant in folic acid and Vitamin C and are a great source of important antioxidants.
In Idaho, berries are produced primarily by small farmers and sold at the farm, at a local farmers market or at one of several U-Pick locations.
- Best Blueberry Cobbler
- Fresh Berry Crisp
- Cherry Berry Smoothie
- Strawberry Yogurt Parfait
- Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Tart
- Summer Berry Muffins
- Idaho Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- Pumpkin Gnocchi with Huckleberry Sauce and Apple
- Rainbow Trout with Raspberry Chutney and Asparagus Slaw
- Huckleberry Pan Baked Idaho Trout with Warm Lentil Salad
- Grilled Pork Sirloin with Spicy Onion Puree, Savory Blueberry Compote
- Apple Carrot Salad with Huckleberry Lemon Curd