The first day of summer is days away and we are well into summer berry season. The basket of mulberries pictured above was hand picked by Peter (my husband) from the mulberry tree in our backyard and we are grateful for it.
Flashback to December when we first laid eyes on the tall leafless tree, we had no idea it was a fruit-bearing tree until a few months later one spring day. On that day, Peter called for me to come outside to look at the tree. He noticed fruit growing from it. We called my mother out to join in on the investigation. She said it is a mulberry tree that bore white mulberries two years ago, and that last year it did not bring any fruit. We were surprised and delighted!
Reading about this fruit, I learned that mulberries ripen over an extended period of time unlike many other fruits that seem to come all at once. Also, botanically the fruit is not a berry but a collective fruit that resembles ablackberry.
Since our happy discovery mulberries abound. This tree is quite prolific. I have to confess, I was slightly disappointed that the mulberries were not white. They started out white to a pale yellow-green, then changed to a reddish color, then to shades of purple-lavender to dark purplish-black. My guess is that they are black mulberries, then again, they might just be white mulberries based on what I read about each variety.
Over a hundred varieties and many hundreds more sub-varieties exist, way too many to list here, and mulberry trees can be found in almost any altitudes and climates in the world.
Black mulberries are large, juicy, and sweet. It is considered the best-flavored species of mulberry.
Red mulberries are deep red, almost black in color. Its flavor is similar to the black mulberry.
Pink mulberries vary in color from pink to red. They are sweet, moist and sticky when ripe.
White mulberries are very sweet and are moist when ripe. These mulberries can produce white, lavender or black fruit.
Mulberries Nutritional Profile
Bursting with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and natural compounds, like antioxidants, mulberries are nutrient rich and add nutritional value to one’s body and enhance health. Mulberries are a super food. Listed here are some of the good things it contains.
Anthocyanins | Beta-Carotene | Calcium | Carbohydrate | Dietary Fiber | Fatty Acids | Iron | Magnesium | Malic Acid | Phosphorus | Potassium | Protein | Resveratrol | Vitamin B | Vitamin C | Vitamin K
If have a mulberry tree, or two, or more, then selecting them is as simple as picking the ripe fruit. On the other hand, when purchasing at a market, look for plump, well-rounded, firm berries and make sure they are dry and not leaking juice. It is a good idea to carefully check the berries in and at the bottom of the container, or basket, before purchasing to ensure none of the berries are crushed or moldy. Handle the berries gently as any that are damaged or crushed quickly loss precious vitamins.
Preparing and Storing Mulberries
These are highly perishable fruits. Once ripe and when picked, it is best to eat them as soon as you can.
Whether prepping for a recipe or preparing for serving, gently rinse, drain and pat the berries day, if necessary.
Mulberries dehydrate and freeze well too. Clean the berries, then:
To dehydrate – place the whole berries on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate until the berries are completely dry through and through.
To freeze - place the berries on a flat surface, like a cutting board of a baking sheet, in a single layer, and place in the freeze until they are frozen. Transfer to an airtight freezer storage container, label and date. They should keep well up to 6 months.
Like any other berry fruit, mulberries can be served in a multitude of ways. They combine well with other fruits. Simply use them as you would any other berry.
Try mulberries as a fruit beverage or showcase them in a dessert. I hope you will enjoy fresh mulberries while they are available.
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Though I love all the wonderful berries, at this time mulberries are my new favorite. These particular mulberries are ultra sweet and after admiring the tree yet again, it appears we will be enjoying these luscious treats well into the season.