Mulberries are a strange fruit. Thanks to Pop goes the weasel, I’ve gotten this far in life thinking they grew on a bush – all around the mulberry bush – but lately, having realised we have three trees in our garden that are producing them at a rapid rate, I now know they grow on a tree.
They look like a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry – the colour of the former and the shape of the latter. Taste-wise, they’re nothing to write home about. But, loathe to waste anything, I did some reseach to see what I could do with them.
Apparently, their health benefits are many: they improve digestion (good), lower cholesterol (very good), help weight loss (great), increase circulation, build bone tissue, lower blood pressure, and boost the immune system. So they have to be good for you, right? They’re also supposed to slow down the aging process – which for me, puts them in a superfood category.
Their stems are buried deep inside the fruit, so even when you’ve taken off the stalk, taking out the rest of the stem is a pain in the proverbial. They stain, horribly. Remember your fountain pen days when you’d get a stain on your fingers from the ink? Now treble that.
Recipes I came across included a mulberry sorbet – which we set out to make. But fifteen minutes into destemming, we lost the will to continue and just put the lot we’d picked into a pot, added some sugar, and boiled the guts out of them. Then we strained and bottled. I fully intended to add some of this syrup to some soda water and have as my daily wake-up tonic. But, man, does that stuff taste vile. So it has to be good for you, right?
They’re easy to pick – just look at them and they drop into the bucket. The ground is littered with them. They’re everywhere. Which means they get on shoes and sandals and get tracked inside, adding a nice purple hue to the floors. Perhaps the most telling, though, is that the birds leave them alone. Obviously they don’t have cholesterol issues or suffer from high blood pressure. Next year perhaps, I might be a little more organised. But this year, one bottle of syrup was as much as I could muster.
I have another cholestoral check in September, and if it has dropped dramatically (or shifted downwards at all) then I’ll be in business. These trees could be my pension.