On the edge of town, we have a community fishing pond. It’s been great fun going there this summer because it’s like we have a little vacation only five minutes away. We pack up all the fishing gear, chairs, a blanket, and a picnic. Five or six hours later we come home relaxed, refreshed, and feeling like we went on a grand adventure.
For me, the most exciting part of the trip is picking mulberries. The first time we went, the future husband told me that he thought he saw some blackberries. I quickly went off to investigate because I love warm, fresh blackberry cobbler. My parents had some bushes on their property in Missouri, and it was always great fun to pick and eat them. I’m no horticulturist, but when I saw that the berries were growing on trees rather than bushes, I knew that they couldn’t be blackberries. We went ahead and picked a bunch anyway, but I wouldn’t let anyone eat them until I did some research.
After a sound google search and a consultation with Alice Water’s Chez Panisse Fruit, I knew that I had mulberries. Apparently, our trees may be native red mulberry trees, but a white mulberry has made its way from China; many trees are hybrids. The trees will be ripe throughout early summer, so I’m planning on at least one more round of picking. Most of what I’ve read says that you can substitute mulberries for any berry recipes, like cobblers and muffins. The first morning we ate them with crepes and strawberries, absolutely delicious! I’ve been stirring them into yogurt and oatmeal, also. This morning I froze a big batch after finding out that mulberries have a lower acidity than other fruits. I think freezing will be wiser than canning.
All in all, they’re a delicious little treat, and I feel quite sensible and frugal picking them for free! It’s been a great summertime activity. If you’re out and about in the Midwest or Great Plains, keep your eyes open for my new favorite thing.