I adore berries! Mulberries, to me, are the most adult-tasting berry. They aren’t super sweet or super tart, but have a really pleasant mellowness to them. Not as bitter as blackberries can be.
I like them best in sorbets (with a sweetish wine – port, white wine, or cheap country wine of any sort!) or frozen dropped into my cereal bowl. They are also good in yogurt.
Saturday morning we went to the park behind my house that is teeming with mulberry bushes. We picked almost 6 pounds! Some folks have these bushy trees in their yards and will roll their eyes at the idea of someone seeking out berries, but for those who enjoy a pleasant morning walk in the woods that ends in a feast of berries, here’s our technique:
I use a queen size sheet and set it under the tree. A really tall tree, we’ll just shake and watch the berries fall into our sheet. And spatter onto our heads and clothes. Wear something you want some purple accents added to! The sheet will also turn pretty purple. Could be an interesting art project!
Mulberry trees are pretty bendy to a point, and if you can reach a branch, pull it down pretty far (again with the sheet underneath to catch the guys) and pick off even more! Mulberries are the bounciest, rollingest berry I have ever picked. They just fly out of my hands. So, the sheet underneath is great.
Then dump the sheet into your bucket and move to the next tree! There are three types of mulberries, red mulberries, which are native, white mulberries, which are non-native, and hybrids of the two. Most are hybrids but we found a few pretty white mulberry trees – pictured in the bottom right of my mosaic. The white ones taste like a mix between a red mulberry and a kleenex, as I saw in one on-line gardening forum. I totally stand behind this assessment, but boy they are the prettiest amethyst color!
Once we’re done (no such thing as having “enough” berries though) I take them home and fill the bucket with water. A lot of the stray leaves and sticks that you get from the tree-shaking method float to the top. Definitely pick through the berries with a careful eye, it doesn’t take that long. Mulberries spoil quickly and are really tender to handling which is why you don’t see them in stores.
I use a colander to pull out a few at time and pick out sticks and leaves. You can leave on the little stems.
After cleaning, I alternate a layer of berries with freezer paper in between the layers in a long flat tupperware. This way they don’t clump together when they freeze and you can pull out a handful at a time.
Some people freeze berries on cookie sheets and then transfer them into freezer containers after they re frozen to avoid the 5 pound solid frozen berry clump disaster. But my method works for me!