How to Harvest Mulberries

I looked down and realized I was making valances for my studio out of a bolt of loud 70s polyester with a 60s steam iron on a 60s dinette set with mid-century accessories,  while listening to the Beegees. I might possibly be from the wrong decade. Or maybe the right one, since some of that stuff is so popular with “hipsters” now anyway?

On an unrelated note, the mature mulberry tree we share with our neighbors is bearing again, and it’s time to pick and freeze while the picking’s good. Mulberries are among the best edible berries, IMO. They’re so sweet they need no sugar, they’re not tough nor do they have large seeds, they are full of antioxidants, and to harvest them, you simply shake the tree and they literally fall on you like *purple rain*. Supermarkets don’t carry mulberries, so if you have them then you probably got them for free from a nearby tree, which is also awesome. Unfortunately birds love them too so your car and sidewalk will be littered with colorful poo for the next two months, but it’s worth it.

  1. To get the mulberries, I use a ladder and drop them into a plastic kiddie pool on the ground, but you can also just spread a large tarp or cheap plastic painting dropcloth, shake the branches you can reach, and pick up the booty that falls. These things stain everything they touch, including carpet, so wear your grungiest digs and check your shoe soles before wearing them indoors afterward.
  2. Next, soak the harvest in a bowl of water for about 10-15 minutes, which should drown whatever got to the berries before you did.
  3. Spread them onto a paper towel on a cookie sheet, in a single layer. Not too many berries to a sheet so they don’t stick to each other.
  4. Put them in the freezer a couple of hours until they are frozen solid–a COLD chest freezer is best–then remove.
  5. To remove the stems easily, rub the frozen berries vigorously on the sheet with the palm of your hand. The stems should all snap right off. (They are edible, but I personally dislike the texture). Then pick the berries up and the stems will be left on the sheet.

frozen mulberries…lots of tasty, no stems

But now what to do with them? There’s cobblers, pies, you can put them in smoothies, in yogurt, on fancy crackers with cheese, use them frozen in slushies…and they can be stored in an airtight container in your freezer if you’re not ready to use them. I like to pick the first ripened batch, freeze them and pick more as they ripen over several days. Or, just eat them fresh right off the tree–the “bugs” are extra protein!

(No, I don’t know when this blog became another down-home-food preserving-curtain sewing- mama sort of blog. 😉 )

Let me know if you have any tasty mulberry recipes!


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