July 25, 2014

Mulberry Season brings Mulberry Syrup

On the Menu Today~
How to Juice Mulberries
How to Make Mulberry Syrup

Mulberry Season!

It's Mulberry Season and the Mulberry trees are overflowing.
I'm off to Oshkosh WI to pick Mulberries at Bob and Kim's house. They are fortunate enough to have 3 very large Mulberry Trees on their property. I am armed with gloves, bug spray, an old sheet, plastic baggies and a baseball bat! Oh yes, we will be a sight to be seen indeed!

It's a mystery to me why more people don't cook with Mulberries. They're fun to hunt for, delicious, nutritious and if your lucky enough and know someone who has Mulberry trees, they're free! Mulberry trees can be found in the woods, farms, yards, and even in parks. People don't usually know what they are and even think they are poisonous, which of course, they are not.

Morus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Moraceae, commonly know as Mulberry Tree. Mulberries are about 1/2" to 1" long and come in shades of white, red and black. There are two kinds of Mulberries. The native red Mulberry and white Mulberry. The white Mulberry, is originally from Asia and was imported here in the early 1800's. The two species have hybridized over the years, so there are now pink Mulberries.
There are 10-16 species of these deciduous trees.

Mulberries grow rapidly when young but after a few years,
they become slow growing and rarely exceed 30 feet tall.
The leaves are alternately arranged and serrated on the margin.
When the fruit ripens, the fruit turns from an off white to pink to red to a dark purple or black. Mulberries have a sweet flavor and look very similar to blackberries.
The favorite food of the silk worm is mulberry leaves.
Silk worms and the Mulberry have a long history together.

Mulberries are used for making wine, jam, syrup and
many desserts, such as: cobblers, pie, bars and crisps.
You can use Mulberries in any recipe that calls for berries..
Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.
Mulberries contain the same anthocyanins as blueberries,
putting Mulberries high on the list of "good for you" foods.

The red mulberries are actually black when they're ripe.
Mulberries are un-ripe when they are hard to the touch and hard to pull off the branches.
Ripe mulberries are soft and tacky to the touch and will fall off the tree easily.
When berries are fully ripe, the stems are soft and completely edible,
but you can cut them off if you wish.

Supplies needed to harvest mulberries...
Baseball Bat
Sheet or tarp
Empty, clean, ice cream pails
3 people but 2 will do

How to harvest mulberries....
This is a three man/woman operation...
2 people to hold or move the tarp or sheet and
1 person to move/climb the ladder and
to  shake or hit the branches with a baseball bat..

Lay an old sheet or tarp on the ground..or
Have 2 people hold the sheet/tarp
Lightly shake the branches or using a baseball bat,
Hit the branches until the berries drop to the sheet/tarp.
Pour the berries into a large plastic container or ice cream pail
Continue moving your tarp or sheet,
Shaky or hitting the branches until your containers are full.
Mulberries also can and will stain....everything!
Fingers, hands and even clothes.
The juice from crushed Mulberries was used to
Dye clothes back in the 1800's to early 1900's.

When you have enough berries,
bring them home, spread them out on your counter top and inspect for any berry bugs.
Pick out any un-ripe mulberries and any unwanted ingredients such as:
Leaves, bugs, small twigs and/or dirt.

Put Mulberries in a sink of cold water for a few minutes to clean them.
Don't worry about the stems...it's ok if they remain attached to the berries.
The stems are edible but you can remove them if you choose but
They are a pain to remove...you'll be straining the mixture and throwing away the pulp.
After you drain the berries, spread out on countertop and let them air dry.
You can use them right away or you can flash freeze for later use.

How to Flash Freeze Berries:
Place the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
Put in the freezer for about 4 hours.
Remove pan from freezer and put them in zip lock freezer baggies.
This is a great time to measure out the amount you will need for baking.
I put up to 3 cups of frozen berries per baggie.
Write the amount and date on each zip lock freezer bag.
Check out: How to Freeze Whole Strawberries

Making Mulberry Syrup is really easy.
Nothing is better than warm, homemade, good old fashioned, berry syrup
On a tall stack of pancakes....well....maybe a few pats of butter!!
This year I decided to juice the mulberries and
Freeze the juice to use later.
I'll later use the juice to make syrup and jelly.

How to Juice Mulberries

  • 4 cups mulberries
  • 4 cups water
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt
Cooking Directions
  1. In a  pot large enough to hold 8 cups; bring berries, water, juice from lemon and a pinch of salt to a boil. Reduce heat to medium heat. Using a potato masher, mash the berries. Let the mulberry juice, pulp and water cook for 20 minutes. Strain. Line a fine wire mesh strainer with a triple thickness of cheesecloth. Placed the lined mesh strainer over a bowl and pressed out the juice with a potato masher. Twist the cheesecloth to get every last drop. You can also use a light weight flour sack fabric, hang it from your cupboard door handle and the juice drains into a bowl. Let this drain overnight, wring out any left over juice. Discard the pulp.
  2. Make Juice:
  3. Pour juice into a saucepan and heat juice to a boil, turn burner off. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. Remove from the heat (you can strain mixture again, if desired) when juice is cool, pour into 2 cup plastic freezer containers or size of your choice, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Label and date. Place in the freezer and freeze until ready to make jelly or syrup.

Mulberry Syrup

  • 4 cups juice, fresh strained or frozen
  • 2 to 3 cups sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Remove the amount of mulberry juice from freezer, let containers thaw or use fresh strained juice. Pour 4 cups of juice in a large saucepan. Add 2-3 cups sugar, (the amount of sugar depends on your personal preference) Bring juice and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until mixture thickens. This takes about an hour or longer. When the syrup is thickened test the thickness by dipping a spoon in the syrup, if the syrup slides right off the spoon, it's not thick enough. Continue heating and stirring, if the syrup coats the back of the spoon, its finished.
*Note: You can use a food mill to mash the berries if your fortunate enough to own one*

 Almond French Toast with Mulberry Syrup


Check out: Mulberry Season 2013
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