White mulberry harvest

This species profile is a guest contribution from Dr. Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral scholar and food blogger in Italy. 

“Here we go round the mulberry bush… in search of an invasive treat.”

The fruits of white mulberry (Morus alba) resemble blackberries in appearance and taste- sweet and tart.  White mulberries are available from late spring to summer.  They are ripe when you can gently pull them from their branches.  One particularly efficient method of harvest (and a method that will help avoid staining your hands purple!) is to spread a sheet on the ground and shake the tree.

The fruit can be eaten raw (especially good with fresh cream), put into pies or tarts or jams, or made into wine.  Eat or prepare the fruit promptly- they will ferment or mold after just a few days in the fridge.  They can, however, be frozen for longer storage.

White mulberry photo courtesy of Will Cook http://www.duke.edu/~cwcook/trees/moal.html

Fast facts:

The release of mulberry pollen grains is literally explosive!  Grains are propelled from the catkins (male flowers) at a speed of 350 mph, among the fastest movements in plants.

The name “white mulberry” can be misleading.  The berries are not necessarily white (although sometimes they are), and they are not even true berries.  Rather, they are a fruit known as an aggregated drupe.

The wood of mulberry trees is used in hockey sticks.

2 thoughts on “White mulberry harvest

  • June 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm
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    The white mulberry, Morus alba was first introduced in colonial times but in the early 1900’s mulberries were introduced for the culture of silkworms to produce silk. The white mulberry seed was easily spread by fruit eating birds. The white mulberry readily hybridizes with the native red mulberry, Morus rubra. I’ve noticed the early floras didn’t mention white mulberry.
    To distinguish M. alba from M. rubra a simple key is:
    Leaves smooth on top, underside of leaves with few hairs mostly on veins and in the leaf axils. —M. alba
    Leaves rough and dark on top surface. Underside of leaf hairy not confined to the veins and axils.

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