Mulberries (many varieties of Genus Morus) are prolific this year here on the west coast. Beautiful tall tries are covered with millions purple , pink or white sweet and juicy fruit. I hear many people about those berries that drop on people’s clothing and cars and how permanent the purple stains are. I feel like gifting these poor souls with a jar of my mulberry jam to make them feel better, if I wouldn’t love it myself so much…
Mulberries make very easy wild harvest and were used for thousands of years as delicious food and medicine. When ripe, they fall and need to be picked that day or next. It is easy to pick them from lawn. Alternatively, you can place a tarp under a tree and just empty it out every day. Yesterday we spent 45 min and picked about 5 pounds of fresh berries from under 2 trees. Still, plenty was left for birds and skunks, who visit daily and nightly to have their dessert.
The fruit of the black mulberry, native to southwest Asia, and the red mulberry, native to eastern North America, have the strongest flavor. The fruit of the white mulberry, an east Asian species which is extensively naturalized in urban regions of eastern North America, has a very mild flavor. Because the taste is sweet but very subtle, the combinations of mulberries with strawberries, raspberries or blueberries make delicious jams, puree or smoothies.
To make jam, I boil 1 cup berries with ½ cup sugar, place in clean jar while boiling hot, cover and let cool.
I like to make raw jams- blending 1 cup berries with ½ cup sugar till smooth, placing in sterile jar and refrigerating till use. In this recipe, all vitamins stay intact.
Traditionally, mulberry fruit has been used as a medicinal agent to nourish the yin and blood, benefit the kidneys, and treat weakness, fatigue, anemia, and premature graying of hair. It is also used utilized to treat urinary incontinence, tinnitus, dizziness, and constipation in the elderly and the anemic.
The fruit is botanically called a sorosis, because it is formed by the consolidation of many flowers. It is juicy and has a sweet taste with some sourness that is more prominent in the less mature fruits. The mature plant contains significant amounts of resveratrol, particularly in stem bark, which had shown to have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, blood sugar-lowering and other beneficial cardiovascular effects of resveratrol have been. The fruit and leaves are sold in various forms as nutritional supplements. Unripe fruit and green parts of the plant have a white sap that is intoxicating and mildly hallucinogenic. Mulberry leaves, particularly those of the white mulberry, are the sole food source of the silkworm.
The main content of fresh, ripe mulberry fruit is:
Carbohydrate (sugars, mainly glucose and fructose, producing the sweet taste): 7.8-9.2%
Fat (mainly fatty acids, such as linoleic, stearic, and oleic acids in the seeds): 0.4-0.5%
Free acids (mainly malic acid, producing the sour taste): 1.1-1.9%