Mulberry trees are one of those local plants many people love to hate. When they grow over your driveway, I can understand the distress they cause when those lush dark berries stain every surface they fall on.
Fortunately, we have a large mulberry tree at the edge of our back field, where the berries just hit grass – if I can’t pick them sooner. Lately, whenever my husband can’t find me, he comes looking by the mulberry tree. I’ve been fighting the birds for these fine, free treats. I figure they can have the ones way at the top that I can’t reach. The rest, I’m doing my best to capture as they ripen. I bring my ladder out and lay a blanket on the ground to catch any that fall as well.
My first experiment was mulberry jam. I have not made this before so I had to figure out my method. My first attempt was very seedy and try as I may to pull them off, still contained lots of stems.
So then I got this idea – try running them through the tomato press I got at the second hand store. I found this cool item this winter for $3.50 and I’ve been waiting to try it on my tomatoes. The only instructions say to heat the fruit then run it through. So I did that with my next batch of mulberries before making my jam. It worked like a charm.
Not only did it remove the stems but it also took out some seeds and the rougher pulp. I added pectin, lemon juice and sugar to the result and it came out as a winner – my new favorite jam!
So then I had all this pulp left over. This led to my next experiment… Strawberry Mulberry Wine.
I found this book at the library entitled Wild Wine Making. It had a recipe for Mulberry Wine, which required 3 pounds of fruit. I didn’t have that but I did have some extra strawberries. I added them to the mix and I was in business. The basic premise is start with fruit. Add sugar water (I believe this recipe had me dissolve 2 pounds of sugar in a gallon of water) with the fruit, stir and let it cool. Once cool, add a packet of wine yeast. Cover with a towel and let it ferment for 7-10 days, stirring twice/day. After that, strain it and put in a carboy with airlock. Let it ferment another 6 months-year. I’m still at the first stage of the process. I’ll keep you posted as I strain it.
This was the second day. Look how big the bubbles are on top!
These are my mulberry experiments so far. I wonder, what is your favorite mulberry treat?