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43 responses to “Mulling Mulberries”

  1. Josh

    I think “tame” was the most apt description. I’ve been picking a couple here and there on my way to and from work each day. They’ve gotten better, and what I like about them is that, if not perfectly ripe, their tartness doesn’t implode your face. They are tame.

    I think they might make a good compote with a couple of spices, but I don’t want to overload it. What might you recommend?

  2. Karen

    You say that flavors and textures are tough for you to describe, and then you come up with this?? “… my main flavor impression is a kind of high sweetness, like an alto to blackberry’s baritone.”

    As usual, I have a difficult time with what I love more – your food or your writing.

    I’d like to have a dress the color of that sorbet!

  3. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife

    We have a few mulberries around us. The litter property lines in this area, for some reason. Few of them are at all productive and none highly productive. My husband did gather some a while back and ended up making a jam that was more of a cheese – in the sense that membrillo is quince “cheese.” It was more slice-able than spreadable, but good nonetheless.

    Incidentally, I’ve wondered in recent years why the nursery rhyme speaks of “the mulberry bush.” If mulberries were bushes, I’d keep one, even in our very modest backyard. I only know them as massive trees that dominate a landscape, which we don’t have room for. Any idea whether there are mulberry varieties that remain bushes?

  4. Carolina Rig

    I’m usually out of town this time of year, so this is the first time I can take advantage of the two mulberry trees that are on the island I work at. Beating the birds to the berries has been challenging. Mockingbirds and grackles are so possessive. Instead of picking them, I brought a tarp and pale into work. Climbed the tree (only a few feet up) and shook. Bucket-o-berries ready for processing.

  5. Carolina Rig

    Pale?? I need more coffee….

  6. Carolina Rig

    Jam, I like the seeds and prefer it over a jelly

    Compote – served with a seared venison loin….idea came from a caribou loin w/ partridgeberry ‘sauce’ I had in St. John’s at Bacalao (http://bacalaocuisine.ca/) …. best meal I’ve ever had in Canada.

    Fresh over ice cream

    Frozen to be used later for pie and cobbler

  7. E. Nassar

    Hank-
    You are correct, mulberries most certainly are a major berry in the middle east. In Lebanon, in my little town in the North the trees are everywhere and are very highly prized and loved. I much prefer them over the super tart blackberries. Maybe that’s because I loved them as a kid picked from the neighbors’ trees or from when my grandmother bought them from local travelling farmers/grocers…who knows. It’s a shame that I can almost never find them here unless I “forage” for them.
    You are also right about the white mulberries, I never liked them. They basically had one flavor note, “mildly sweet”. They have no aroma, no astringency and not a hint of acid. Some in Lebanon prized those qualities though..go figure. I do remember town people using the leaves of the mullberry (known as “toot” BTW) to feed their silk worms.

  8. Josh

    Okay, I want to make a mulberry/boysenberry pie. You think those two’ll go together?

  9. Laura

    The image of “some Mexican key limes hanging around” cracks me up – your kitchen must be like the jockey’s locker room between races…

  10. Lehua of MauiFarmlet.com

    Coincidentally, I just had a great meal from a very creative chef that used foraged mulberry. Chef Justin of Market Fresh Bistro in Makawao, Maui (Hawaii) created a mulberry-ginger compote to complement a medium-rare cut of venison. The compote set the venison off extremely well (I wish I had the recipe, but I have a feeling he would share it if you ask!). The great thing about Market Fresh Bistro is that they create new menus for every meal based on the local resources available (something important when you’re trying to promote sustainability thousands of miles from the nearest continent). (And you may like the fact that the venison was harvested from the local axis deer that are running rampant and destroying the forests in the islands, where they have no natural predators). (By the way, I don’t work at Market Fresh, but love what they’re trying to do here in Maui, as a newbie sustainable farmer)

  11. Dave

    Oh, childhood. I grew up in south central Pennsylvania. One of the highlights of that life was eating mulberries, concord grapes, black cherries, raspberries, and pears from wild trees, bushes, and vines.

  12. Eli

    Great post. I love the idea of using limes to add some acid to the mulberries. I can’t wait until they start coming ripe in the midwest – we have at least a few more weeks to wait. When I’ve picked mulberries they have thin little stems that you have to pinch off. (My attempts to pull them out resulted in smashed berries.) But I’ve never left them on for fear they’d stay tough and ruin the dish. Did you pick off all the stems before you made the compote or just leave them in there?

    Also, I was pretty surprised (in a good way, definitely) to see a link to my old blog, Eli Cooks, at the bottom of the post. I’m very flattered to be in such good company.

  13. Rachel Willen

    Gorgeous, gorgeous berries and mouthwatering sorbet. I will file this in the back of my mind for the wild blackberries that grow like crazy along the trails of the state park I live near and hike in. I will bring a bucket and come right home and make that sorbet! Thanks for the idea!

  14. Melly

    They are really hard on cars..paint I mean.

    I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

  15. Cork Graham

    Wow–what a surprise, Hank! Now I’ve got to start looking, because I think I’ve seen those very pre-fruit stage in the neighborhood here on the Peninsula.

  16. Lucy

    I’ll have to second the cries of ‘ah childhood’. My grandmother and us kids used to pick mulberries in Nebraska, her hands were purple all summer long. Mostly she made jam and jelly and pie and we ate them. Really, really good with a flavor all their own. Oh, and we washed the cars, you can always tell when a mulberry tree is nearby…the bird poop is bright purple. Best to keep the tree at the park ;-)

  17. Sylvie in Rappahannock

    mulberry tarts and mulberry pies. Serve with Philadelphia style vanilla ice-cream or lime ice-cream. It’s been years since I’ve had mulberries. When we were kids they were a great treat.

  18. Paul C

    I find the trick to a good panna cotta is having barely enough gelatine to get it to set. I’ve a recipe at home somewhere that gives me pretty good results. I like to use cheap disposable plastic cups as moulds, especially those with ribbing as it gives some visual appeal to when unmoulded.

    Here’s a post I did about a rather odd yet quite tasty recipe from Momofuku for panna cotta. http://xesla.ro/wordpress/cooking/corn-flakes-panna-cotta-with-candied-capt-crunch-and-avacado-puree/

  19. Bill Bird

    Hank,

    I’ll be in your neck of the woods this Saturday morning. I’ll have to find this park… Certainly the birds — nor Hank Shaw — got to them all.

    Bill

  20. Buzzie

    Interesting how the mulberry/car theme comes up several times. When my husband and I were dating we used to pick and eat mulberries from an enormous tree that was in his neighborhood close to his house that had the misfortune to be in the corner of a parking lot of an apartment building. One day he came home and it was cut down because people had complained about their cars. We were outraged at the obvious lack of values.
    Mulberry wine?

  21. Restaurant Supply Dude

    @Dave I grew up and still am in Lancaster, PA, and I wholeheartedly concur. In my youth, long walks around fields to fishing or swimming holes were often powered by mulberries and raspberries found along the way. Sadly, the pond North of Lititz where we used to used to catch sunnies is drained, and the surrounding corn fields are now a mess of cookie cutter townhomes.
    One thing is for sure: there are good mulberries and terrible ones. As a kid, we got pretty good at remembering where the good ones could be found.

  22. Richard

    Mulberry fool… or syllabub

  23. Laurie

    Morat! this is a lovely mulberry flavored mead…that indescribable flavor gives this ferment an almost nutty flavor. One of my favorite wines to make.

  24. SmartDogs

    Last summer disaster hit. We lost all of our elderberry trees to verticillium. It was horrific. I love elderberries. And elderflowers. And being able to pick them a short walk from my front door.

    Since the evil of verticillium lurks in the soil for years, I don’t dare plant more elders. Thank god for mulberries! I found a local nursery that specializes in native species and they had lovely small trees for very reasonable prices. Our place is woody and wild and overgrown, so mulberries will fit right in. Thank you for recipes I can save until they’re large enough to get more than snacking harvests from.

  25. Johanna

    Hi Hank, I loved this post! Every year I eagerly anticipate the approach of ripe mulberries, the first crop that signals to me, the soon-to-be-onset of all the other berries I love to forage for and eat. I set aside an afternoon to pick my first pail of mulberries, make my grandmother’s pie crusts, and bake a delicious mulberry pie to welcome in the season.

    I’ve noticed that the absolute best mulberries are picked when it has been hot and dry for a few days. Too much rain results in a watered-down, barely flavorful, and hardly like-able bite. But if you get lucky and have a few days of hot dry weather, those mulberries should be out-of-this-world delicious!

    Truth be told, the only berry that I get more excited for than mulberries are wine berries. Do you have those in your neck of the woods?

  26. luigi1316

    oi if u want one of those tree is ur yard u can wait till some of the mulberries drop to the ground pick them up and put them in a pot water and wait for them to grow if that doesnt work there should be some baby trees underneath the tree and take one of them home and it should be as fruitfull as the one in the park

  27. Bryan Bean

    Wow, just made the sorbet and it was awesome! You have a great writing style too, very fun to read.

    Thanks,
    Bean

  28. Brent M

    Quote: “Mulberry trees are easy to recognize” – I have to laugh at this – as I live in NZ and we were recently on holiday in the USA. We don’t have mulberries here in NZ – I had heard of them but never seen them actually growing before. I remember seeing these trees where we were staying and saying to my wife – what are these trees – they kinda look like “blackberrry trees” – curiously, exactly as you have just described them. Never got to try the mulberries before we left to come home – but I HAVE just made the panna cotta you recommend here – and I’m still sitting here in the “after glow” – totally delicious. Thanks for a very entertaining and informative post. Brent M (NZ).

  29. Now is your chance to meet Hank Shaw! | Nose To Tail At Home

    […] Above is a picture of Paul C. snagging on of the last Clams Casino, which was followed by Spring crab salad, a mind-blowingly great Provencal Fish Bisque with saffron, a herbed wild boar sausage, Hank’s version of Doves a La Mancha done with local quail (see below), and a blueberry sorbet based off his mulberry sorbet. […]

  30. Iris

    Hi Hank-
    When my husband was deployed to Afghanistan he developed a deep love for the Mulberry fruit. The trees are abundant there, and he spent many a hot day enjoying a quick bit of respite and a few handfuls of berries under the shade of the Mulberry trees. When he came home he immediately started planting Mulberry trees on our CSA farm. We have 5 different varieties, including the white Mulberry. Contrary to popular opinion, we find the white mulberry fruit to be delicious. They are ultra-sweet, like tree grown sugar candies picked at full ripeness. They are not acidic, and maybe too sweet for some tastes, but I have a hard time believing anyone who tried one of our white mulberries would not fall in love. Maybe our hot dry climate in southern California has something to do with the flavor. It is a similar climate to Afghanistan, and may be just what the white Mulberry tree needs.

  31. Now is your chance to meet Hank Shaw! | Nose To Tail At Home

    […] of Doves a La Mancha done with local quail (see below), and a blueberry sorbet based off his mulberry sorbet. Photo by Holly […]

  32. Mario

    I didn’t read through all of the comments so maybe someone already said this but I rather like white mulberries. It’s true they lack the complexity of the red but they still have a delicate sweet taste that I think makes a fine jam, especially with a little lemon zest added.

    Beautiful post though! Thinking about mulberry sorbet with brandy.

  33. dblee

    looking forward to trying this next spring!

  34. Jodie

    Here I’ve found more than I ever thought I would on Mulberries. It seems that most if not all of the posts so far are from folks in the eastern part of the US. I live near Sacramento, CA. While walking my dog this past late May I entered a vacant city owned field and came across a tree with all of these lovely berries; berries in all stages of maturity. I’m one to try fruits and berries as I walk and bike around. I was elated to find that no one else cared to pick from this tree, my guilt of picking the tree clean except for the higher up fruit (gotta leave some for the birds)soon dissipated. Over the next 3-4 weeks I must have picked 4 or 5 one gallon freezer bags of these lovely berries. Mulberries on my cereal,Mulberries in ice cream, Mulberry smoothies, Mulberry gift bags to my friends.
    I’m moving across town in a few months but plan to visit this vacant field next May and June.
    Next year with a new crop of Mulberries, I look forward to trying some of your recipes.

  35. Gill

    Here in South Africa the mulberries are just starting to ripen so now I have an icecream machine, the sorbet will be made as soon as there are enough. I usually make a mulberry shortcake or a crumble with them. A touch of lemon juice and or zest seems to bring out the full flavour of the berry.

  36. Barbara Franklin

    My husband spent at least two hours rigging up a capturing system for our mulberry tree yesterday. We are on the Big Island and our tree is producing like mad. This is the first year we have done more than pick a few as it is on a steep bank and the fall into our gulch and are lost to what ever wild creature desires them. Tonight I spent at least an hour picking through to clean them. I then juiced them and pulled out my iPad to fine some recipes! Eureka! I have found one. I will be awash in mulberries for a while so if you are in the neighborhood…..

  37. all around the mulberry bush | art restart

    […] More about mulberries here. […]

  38. Your Local 4th of July: Recipes for What’s in Season Now | Civil Eats

    […] I hope translates into Blackberry Slump. With an ice cream maker, it’d be fun to try out this Sorbet, which would also work for the mulberry gang (I’m thinking of you, Nicole in DC and Barbara in […]

  39. Beth R

    We have white and black mulberry trees on our property and I’d argue that they taste almost exactly the same as the black ones. I will admit it was a little scary at first to put one in my mouth because they resemble larvae. ;-)

  40. Sally Cooper

    When we moved to our house 40 years ago, mulberry trees lined the street. Then it was paved, and most of the trees were taken down. The trees that remain are treated like pests and all the low hanging branches have been removed.

    I feel bad for those folk who don’t know they are denying themselves a real treat. Those berries make the best pie!

    I am cultivating them on my property so my grandkids can enjoy.

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