|This is when to begin picking (only the black/purple!) – the others are still ripening|
HERE WE GO ‘ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH
That was as much knowledge that I had of mulberries until last year. We had, what I called, a dirty tree in our backyard, and I was begging my husband to cut down! Then, last year, my kids were eating the berries off the tree, it hit me. Why don’t I find some recipes and use all these berries? I get pounds and pounds of berries each year that just litter our yard!
Mulberries are a forgotten fruit. Why? Because their delicacy, they are almost impossible for grocery stores to carry, like more sturdy berries, i.e. strawberries and blueberries. But, they are every bit as good for you, so if you own a mulberry tree, don’t let your berries go to waste!
Nutritional info regarding mulberries – They are high in vitamin C, can reduce the risk of stroke, high in antioxidants. Anything that is dark in color is especially good for you. One especially nice thing about mulberries is they are low in sugar content, if eaten as is.
I don’t love the berries right off the tree, they are not super tasty (re: low in sugar! :). But, once they are cooked…yumo! You’ll never want to make another bland blueberry pie again! My kids like to eat the berries right off the tree (which is no problem, if you don’t use any insecticides on it).
|Biz & Bella, in the mulberry tree (yes, mom is scared to death down below!)|
1. Teaches my city kids to get dirty and climb trees.
2. We are doing something together!
3. We are doing something productive.
4. We are using what we have. (good stewards)
5. I am teaching them to be connoisseurs instead of consumers.
6. Teaching them to enjoy real food – instead of over-processed junk.
7. Having a ton of laughs and building great memories.
8. Getting some well-needed vitamin D.
9. And, getting some GREAT pictures in the process!
|B & B…I don’t know if any of their mulberries made it into the bowl! 🙂|
STAINED SKIN RUB:
If your kids end up looking like mine did at the end of mulberry picking – just use this super simple recipe:
Pour 1/8 cup of baking soda into a bowl and add enough lemon juice to make a paste. Rub gently onto faces or scrub your hands. It cleans your face, softens your hands and the stain fades almost immediately.
|Sheet, ladder & broom for whacking the tree 🙂 A rake works better for combing off the mulberries.
|Bella picking berries on the ladder – mom was freaking out about simultaneous tree climbing AND picking!|
|How beautiful is this?!?|
HOW TO GET MULBERRIES OFF THE TREE & INTO YOUR PAN!
1. Ripe mulberries will be a deep purple (almost black). The berries will continue ripening over a period of a few weeks to a month.
2. Lay down clean sheets (that you don’t mind getting stained) or tarps underneath your tree.
3. Use a sturdy chair or ladder, if needed to reach the branches.
4. Use a rake to brush the berries off the branches. (my hubby likes to whack the branches with a broom, but I’m way too tender-hearted to do that!)
5. These are very messy berries, very tender – so you may want to use your “gardening clothes” and the kids should definitely be in old clothes. You will want to wear gloves when picking the berries, as they do stain your skin.
6. Gather all your pickings into a bowl.
7. As the berries are so tender, instead of rinsing, put them in a bowl of clean water. Dry on old towels.
8. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week.
TO DIE-FOR MULBERRY PIE RECIPE:
The Best Pie Dough recipe (from Cook’s Illustrated):
It is so EASY and SO GOOD – you will never want to pie another pre-made pie dough. But, if you must, by all means go ahead. 🙂 No guilt here!
PIE DOUGH & MULBERRY FILLING RECIPE:
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix: (in food processor)
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. table salt
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
11 Tbs. cold butter (chopped into pieces) over flour mixture and pulse.
7 Tbs. vegetable shortening (I use the butter flavored) – keep pulsing until the flour mixture resembles course cornmeal with butter no larger than small peas.
Sprinkle 4-5 Tbs. of cold water over mixture. Use your hands and fold the mixture until the dough comes together. Shape dough into two balls (one slightly larger).
For each ball of dough – Use a piece of plastic wrap, flatten ball into a 4-inch wide disk, dust lightly with flour, wrap with the plastic and place in fridge to cool while you prepare your mulberry filling.
In medium bowl:
Mix 3 cups of mulberries with
1 1/4 cups white sugar (I used 1/3 cup Truvia & 1/4 sugar in my last pie)
1/4 cup unbleached flour
Let the mixture sit while you roll out the crusts. Take out only the bottom crusts (let the top stay in the fridge until ready to roll it out)
Pour mulberry mixture into the pie-shell. Dot the top of the mulberry mixture with butter.
Then, roll out 2nd pie crust for the top. After it is placed on the top, cut off the edges. Crimp (to seal in the juices). Use a decorative cutter or slit the top of the pie (to release some of the steam). Brush the top with milk and then, dust with sugar to give a little crunch.
Bake pie for 15 minutes at 400, then lower temperature to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes. Pie should be bubbling and nicely browned when pulled from the oven. Now, for the hardest part…WAIT TO EAT UNTIL COOL! 🙂
MULBERRY JAM RECIPE:
Making your own jam or jelly is WAY easier than the pie…so if you don’t have time, whip a couple jars up. If you make a small batch, like one or two jars and keep them in the fridge, you don’t have to worry about “canning” them. There are a bunch of instructions on canning, so I am not going to go into that here. But, if you just want to make a quick batch of mulberry jam and promise to use it in the next two weeks, here goes! 🙂
This is for a small batch:
2 cups of mulberries (washed!)
Crush the berries with a potato masher. (if you want to get rid of the seeds, you can push through a jelly cloth or a sieve – I don’t mess with that step.)
Simmer in a pan for approx 15 minutes
Add 1 3/4 cups of sugar
Add 1/8 cup lemon juice (I just squeeze in the juice from 1/2 lemon)
Bring to high heat, stirring constantly – rolling boil
Then, add 1/4 box of powdered pectin (or 1/4 bottle of liquid pectin)
Bring to a rolling boil, and boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly.
Turn off heat, ladle off the foam.
If you aren’t canning (like me), you can allow the mixture to cool somewhat before pouring into a jar. Put it into the fridge to cool completely. Use and enjoy!!
|sweet lil’ bella – I will always remember these days 🙂|
Hope this helped take the “mystery” out of mulberries! This is a great “free” fruit that is uber-healthy for your family to eat and enjoy…with the added benefit of building some great home-based traditions.
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