If you’re like most people, chances are all you know about mulberries is from the children’s nursery rhyme: “here we go round the mulberry bush”.
This simple little song lied to you. Mulberries grow on trees, not bushes!
So it turns out you might not know very much about mulberries at all. You probably haven’t seen mulberries in your local grocery store, have you?
Where do mulberries come from? What do they taste like?
In this article, we’ll look at these fascinating and unique-tasting berries, including where they grow, and why it is so impossible to buy them anywhere.
What Are Mulberries?
Mulberries are a type of berry that is most closely related to blackberries and have a similar flavor. They also look very much like blackberries, although they’re elongated and come in different colors ranging from pale white to dark purple.
Mulberries grow most commonly in China and the United States, although they can grow in temperate to tropical regions.
The mulberry tree is also closely associated with the cultivation of silkworms. Silkworms love to feast on the leaves of mulberry trees, and mulberry trees are cultivated to provide food for silkworms to create silk.
In China, in particular, the mulberry tree has a special cultural place as both a provider of special fruit and the home of the silkworm.
What Do Mulberries Look Like?
A mulberry typically looks like an elongated blackberry that grows on the branches of trees. They have a similar size and outward appearance.
However, unless you have a mulberry tree in your backyard, you’re unlikely to see mulberries in this form. They’re very fragile berries, and they don’t typically survive the journey from the tree to your grocery store.
That’s why you’re more likely to see mulberry as a secondary product like jam, or else dried like cranberries.
Are There Different Types Of Mulberry?
Yes, there are two different types of mulberry and the flavor is different.
The red and black type is the most common. Red and black mulberries are found around the world and have a sweet and sour flavor.
White mulberries have a sweeter flavor. They’re considered a superfood and you can now find white mulberries in dried form in health supermarkets and organic markets.
Where Do Mulberries Come From?
Mulberry trees are very resilient and they can grow in a lot of different climates, from temperate to tropical.
The areas where mulberries are most cultivated are China and in the United States.
Mulberries are a component of many different Chinese dishes, and silkworm cultivation is important in China. Therefore, mulberry trees have a special place in Chinese culture.
In the United States, mulberries are also grown to create jams, jellies, cakes, sorbets, and other delicious dishes.
Is Mulberry Healthy?
Yes! Mulberry is considered a superfood because it’s packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Mulberries are also a great source of vitamin C. Iron and can even lower cholesterol and blood sugar. Eating mulberries regularly can lower your risk of cancer and other illnesses.
How Do You Eat Mulberries?
If you happen to have a mulberry tree nearby and you can pick it for yourself, you can pop a mulberry in your mouth and taste the fresh flavor.
However, if you don’t have access to a mulberry tree, you’re probably going to have to settle for either jam or dried mulberries. Mulberry jam has the same sweet and tart flavor as fresh mulberries but it is condensed and sweeter.
Dried mulberries taste similar to cranberries, although they have a different, slightly more tart flavor.
How Can I Store Mulberries?
If you are picking mulberries fresh, you can throw them into the refrigerator and they will keep for two to three days.
Be sure not to wash them or disturb them too much because you will end up bruising and hurting them, which will make them last less time.
Can You Freeze Mulberries?
Yes, you can freeze mulberries for up to six months.
Can You Grow Mulberries?
Yes, although mulberries are not cultivated on a wide scale like other berries, including blackberries and strawberries, this isn’t because most mulberry trees are difficult to grow. Mulberries are very resilient and easy to grow.
The major issue in cultivating mulberries is that they don’t ripen at the same time and they’re very difficult to transport.
If you’re interested in growing your own mulberry tree, have your own fruit available whenever you want, then look into planting a mulberry tree in your backyard.
These will grow even in temperate regions, like the northern states in the United States. You will need to wait until your tree grows to a certain size, but it might be an easier gardening project than you think.
Mulberries Vs. Blackberries
What is the difference between these two similar berries?
First of all, blackberries are rounder and they’re also more sour and tart. They have a different flavor than mulberries, even if they appear similar.
Mulberries look like elongated blackberries and they have a more blueberry and grapefruit flavor.
Although you can interchange mulberries and blackberries in many recipes, you will notice that there’s a difference in the flavor because these berries are not related.
Mulberry Nutritional Information
Per 1 cup raw (140g) mulberry, according to nutritionstripped.com
|14% of Daily Value
|8% of DV
|6% of DV
|14% of DV
|6% of DV
|85% of DV
Quick Table: Mulberry Recipes To Enhance The Flavor
|Total Preparation Time
|Mulberry Jam Recipes
|1 Hour 10 Min
One of the best and most classic uses for mulberries is mulberry jam, which can help to preserve the delicious and sweet flavor for as long as you want.
Mulberry jam goes great on toast and can also be used as a filling in baked goods.
If you’ve never made jam before, it’s a somewhat intensive and time-consuming process.
Anyone can do it, but if you plan on making mulberry jam, it would be a good idea to clear an afternoon or even a full day and decide in advance how you want to can or keep the jam that you end up producing.
This recipe guides you through the entire process from start to finish in a way that is easy to follow. If you want to produce your own mulberry preserves to keep in your cupboard throughout the year, just follow these steps!
Total Preparation Time: 30 Min
These soft and delicious muffins are the perfect medium to deliver the sweet and tart bursts of the flavor of mulberry.
Muffins and cakes are an underrated fruit delivery system, and with the distinctive and interesting mulberry flavor, the rich cake texture of the muffin provides an excellent counterpoint.
This recipe calls for fresh mulberries, which most people are unlikely to have. If you can find them, you’ll have the perfect set of muffins!
If you can’t, you can substitute fresh mulberries for dried mulberries. The result will be a little different, with less of the juice spilling into the dough to create softness around the fruit, but the result is still spectacular.
Total Preparation Time: 45 Min
You will need a lot of fresh mulberries for this recipe, so unless you have a tree (or a few), this might be more of a wishful thinking kind of recipe than a practical one.
However, if you’ve got baskets of mulberries to spare and you want to prepare a dessert that is out of this world and will impress your family, friends, and dinner guests, consider making a mulberry pie!
If you’ve had blackberry pie, you know that the deep flavors of the filling allow you to experience the berry in a whole new way, and this is also true of mulberries.
You might know what the flavor of the berry is like, what the flavor of the jam is like, and you may have tasted dried mulberries, but when you eat a mulberry pie you get a condensation of all of these flavors, along with crumbly pie crust.
It’s an entirely different experience.
It’s a labor of love, but if you have the mulberries and the time, consider making a pie!
Total Preparation Time: 1 Hour 10 Min
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Mulberry Sweet Or Sour?
Ripe mulberries are slightly sweet, but also tart (sour). In a single bite, you should taste a burst of sweetness and some sourness along with it, as you do with blackberries.
Overall, mulberries are more sweet than sour, and white mulberries are sweeter than the red and black varieties.
Do Blackberries And Mulberries Taste The Same?
No! Although mulberries and blackberries look similar and have comparable flavors, they are not the same.
They are not even closely related! Mulberries are elongated and grow on trees, while blackberries are round and grow on small bushes.
Blackberries are more sour and tart than mulberries and lack many of the secondary flavors that you can detect in mulberries, including blueberry, woody cedar, and grapefruit.
What Is The Best Way To Eat Mulberries?
This is certainly a question that is up for debate, with fans of mulberries disagreeing on what their favorite dishes are.
You can enjoy mulberries as a jam, in cakes, muffins, and cookies, in cocktails and smoothies, and as a flavor of ice cream. You can even brew mulberry wine!
In addition to the western uses of mulberries, they are very popular in China, where mulberries are used in many different famous Chinese dishes.
In China, mulberry is used as a popular sauce, as a filling in steamed pork buns, and as a Mulberry leaf congee.
The best way to eat mulberries is the way you enjoy them best – and there are so many different ways to cook and eat mulberries!
Why Are Mulberries Not Sold In Stores?
Mulberries are not very tough.
They have thin skins and a lot of juice, so even if you are careful while picking them you are liable to end up with your hands and clothes stained from the inky insides of mulberries.
Even transporting mulberries from the tree to your house can be a challenge, because even a slight jostle can burst them and leave you with a sticky mess.
In short, a major reason that you can’t buy mulberries at the store is that we can’t seem to get them from point A to point B without destroying them in the process.
Although we can package and sell blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries, mulberries are simply too weak and ready to burst to withstand the shipping process.
Another reason you don’t see mulberries in stores is that they are inefficient to grow commercially.
Most crops that we grow for food tend to mature all at the same time, so we can harvest them altogether. This is true for most vegetables as well as most varieties of berry.
Mulberries are different. They mature at different times, so you can’t harvest them all at once, or predict when they will be ready to pick.
If you wanted to harvest all of the mulberries from a mulberry tree, you would have to pick it up every day for weeks, rather than all at once.
Mulberries are delicious and have a unique and interesting flavor, but we have never figured out how to put them up for sale at the grocery store.
Are Mulberries A Superfood?
White mulberries, in particular, are being sold as a superfood due to their high density of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Eating mulberries is a great way to increase your daily intake of vital vitamins and minerals.
Do Mulberries Grow On Trees Or Bushes?
Despite the children’s rhyme “Here we go round the Mulberry bush”, mulberries grow on trees rather than bushes. This has led to quite a lot of confusion over the years.
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