A Pick-Your-Own Recipe Roundup

53 Ways to use up seasonal strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and raspberries.
Published June 6, 2022

Visiting a “pick-your-own” farm and loading up the trunk with punnets of fresh produce is a quintessential Canadian experience. Once the fruit has been sorted and stored in the fridge, then comes the even bigger task of finding new and delicious ways to use up the bounty of berries and stone fruit that’s suddenly become available. This roundup solves all your “you-pick” conundrums, not only providing a large selection of recipes, but also offering tips and tricks for making the most of your generous harvest.


One of the first “you-pick” crops to appear on the calendar, strawberries come into season in early-June and can be harvested through until late-July. When picking your own strawberries, resist the temptation to pick berries that appear especially ripe — although they might look great on the field, chances are they’ll be mushy once you’ve gotten them home. The best strawberries will be plump (but not overly so, as this can be a sign of watery berries), with seeds spread evenly over the red or orange-red flesh. Loosely cover and store fresh strawberries in the fridge, unwashed and dry, for up to four days before using.


Blueberries and wild blueberries are in-season from mid-July to early-September, depending on where in Canada you plan on harvesting them. Blueberries grow in clusters underneath the plant’s woody branches, you’ll know the blueberries are ripe when they’re completely blue (with no traces of green) and when they easily separate from the vine (you should be able to shake them into your bucket). Blueberries can be left unwashed and stored in the fridge or washed and dried on a clean tea towel before being transferred to the fridge in a sealed container lined with paper towel.


With a growing season that stretches from late-June until the end of July, freshly picked cherries are truly a once-a-year treat. There are two types of cherries grown in Canada, sweet cherries and sour cherries. As the name suggests, sweet cherries are plump and sweet. They’re typically enjoyed by the handful as a snack or are used in desserts, either raw or cooked. When they aren’t being dried or pressed for their juice, sour cherries are often added to sauces and compotes. To easily remove the pit from cherries without a pitter, push a metal straw or chopstick against the pit and out of the other side of the cherry.


Whether you prefer picking wild raspberries or cultivated raspberries, the best time of year to make good on your harvest in Canada is in July and August. Choose bright red raspberries that are plump yet firm, without any sign of deterioration or mushiness. Raspberry bushes are infamous for their sharp thorns, so take care to wear gardening gloves and a long-sleeved shirt made from a sturdy, breathable fabric such as cotton. Raspberries will quickly fall apart and become soft if exposed to moisture, so keep them unwashed in the fridge until ready to use.