It’s mulberry season here in central Ohio. We’re fortunate to have an old black mulberry tree (M. nigra L.) just over the property line. I’m not sure which cultivar of black mulberry it is, but the ripe fruits are plump and jet black – delicious.
Technically, the tree belongs to the school behind us, but no one ever harvests them. By the time they ripen to inky-black perfection.jpg, school’s out for the summer and no one’s around to eat them. Knowing kids today, I doubt they’d pick any even if school was still in session. Do kids even eat mulberries anymore? The birds sure do, a testament borne on seedy, purple splashes of bird poop on our shade canopy and exposed lawn furniture.
I look forward to the mulberries every year. Typically, my consumption of them takes the form of grazing on a few when I’m in the back yard. Our dog Emma loves them and in years past has had purple paw pads if we’ve let her walk around beneath the tree and eat them from the ground. Howie and I have intended to harvest them every year, using the ground tarp method: lay a tarp on the ground beneath the tree and aggitate the branches so the ripe fruit falls onto the tarp. We just never get around to it before they’re gone.
This year, though, the mulberry is producing a HUGE amount of fruit. We’ve lived in this house since 1999 and I’ve never seen such a crop. Check out these pictures from last night:
We tried putting a tarp beneath the tree and aggitating the branches, a technique I’ve read about online. Doing this, we found as many unripe berries were falling as ripe ones. What ended up working best was holding a bowl beneath the clusters of berries and tapping the ripe ones lightly with my fingers. They fell into the bowl, but the red berries stayed put. I filled a big stainless steel bowl with the luscious things Sunday evening, enough to fill a gallon freezer bag and have a couple quarts left over.
I could do this repeatedly for days and not run out of ripe berries — and those are just the ones within reach from the ground. I might try the tarp method to get some from higher up. The berries are highly perishable, thus the lack of commercial operations. Any I pick will be frozen to use later.
And, yes, you will have little bugs in them if you eat them fresh. I don’t worry about them if I’m grazing on them straight off the tree — protein! 😉 I did soak and rinse the berries I kept for later use, however.
Do any of you have memories of mulberries? Share them in the comments!