Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's Mulberry Time!

I just picked my first bowl of mulberries from the tree in my backyard. I have ambitions to make jam with them, but I can't pick enough before the bloodthirsty mosquitoes drive me out. I may have to resort to the old 'shaking' method.

Back in the day, when it was mulberry time my siblings and I would take an old bed sheet and some ice cream buckets, and walk down the fence line in the fields near our house. There were several big mulberry trees that were covered in the juicy black fruits. My brother would climb the tree and shake the branches, and the tree would rain berries onto the sheet that my sister and I held below. We would fill buckets and eat handfuls on the way home. While we scrubbed our purple hands, mom would make jam and syrup from the mulberries. Our favorite treat was fresh mulberries on vanilla ice cream. We still enjoy mulberry time in summer, but now my brother has a special pole and tarp to collect enough mulberries to make wine.

When I bought my house, there were several mulberry trees growing in the yard. They are considered a weed tree around here, and most were removed along with the buckthorn and other weeds. Somehow, one tiny tree in the back corner escaped the chainsaw. It is now almost ten feet tall and covered in berries. The birds and I share the fruit. Nostalgia has kept it alive this far, but it will have to convince the less nostalgic of my household by producing some delicious berry treats. I guess I better put on some more bug spray, find a tarp, and go shake the tree...

How to use mulberries: This sweet fruit can be used in any berry recipe, and they also mix well with other fruit.

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