All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My Mulberry marathon continues

Mulberries: birds love 'em, so do the deer*; I think they are quite tasty too. But I only just had my suspicions confirmed: they are also packed with the anti-oxidant resveratrol. Best of all, they are free!

This summer, it seems that the ripe fruits just keep coming. I think we are past 2 months now and my tree still has plenty of unripe fruit in it. (Unripe fruits are white.)

I can't remember a longer production season, so I am beginning to wonder if our cold summer is the cause of my Mulberry marathon? Whatever the reason, the critters and I are enjoying their sweet, delicious fruits.

We have several mulberry trees on our acre lot here in Brookfield, and I suspect they were all volunteers - planted by the birds. (Some people consider them a weed tree but they are available for purchase too.)

The dark side of Mulberries is that the ripe berries that fall to the ground or via bird droppings can stain. So planting near a sidewalk or driveway is not the best idea. (Alas, our best tree is near the driveway.)

I have read that you can propagate trees by rooting a good sized cutting or planting seeds. Since our fruit producing trees are much too tall for a practical harvest, the animals get most of them. That is OK, I enjoy watching the Orioles eat their fill. If I manage to get some new trees started, I will plant in a better area and prune to a shorter height!

Outside of eating them right off the tree, putting them in a fruit salad, or adding them to a muffin or pancake recipe instead of blueberries, I have not cooked with them. I did find a few recipes though if you want to give them a try: Mulberry Recipes

The Mulberry has been in America for a long time. Cortez first brought the Mulberry tree and silkworms to Mexico in 1531. Later, early colonists imported the Mulberry tree in an attempt to start a silk industry in America. (Silk worms will only eat Mulberry leaves.) This industry never really got off the ground, but the trees provided plenty of tasty fruit.

There are many varieties of Mulberries: Black, red, pink, and white. I believe my trees are red. The berries ripen to a deep black-purple color (pictured), although you can eat them as soon as they turn red. The flavor varies depending on the ripeness. The lighter red ones are more tart. Some say they resemble a grapefruit flavor. The deeper the color, the sweeter they get. Once they reach full ripeness, they remind me of a Bing cherry.

Since the trees produce an amazing amount of free fruit there is enough for the birds, beasts, and us. I hope you give them a try. **

If you have a favorite recipe or way of using Mulberries, please share. I would love to add more to my repertoire.

*I don't really like the deer in the yard, because they eat my flowers and often carry Lyme's disease infected ticks. They do, however, at least clean up the dropped fruits.

**PLEASE, if you are at all unsure if a plant is edible, DO NOT EAT it until it can be verified. If you are harvesting wild plants with young children, instruct them NEVER to eat anything on their own.

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

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