I originally thought these were blackberries, whoops! Blackberries and mulberries are very similar with only minor differences. When I saw what I thought was a blackberry tree in a neighbor's yard, I did some more research, because literally this tree was 80 feet tall, no joke. And I was like ... blackberry tree??? I actually didn't even know what a mulberry was until now! So I've updated this post accordingly.
I have never picked fresh mulberries before and I am stoked that our rental house has a huge mulberry tree that we get all to ourselves! Thankfully, it's still under 10 feet tall so I don't need a ladder yet. When we started renting the property, the landlords said there were two fruit trees, but we had no idea what they were. Well ... now we know that one of them is a mulberry tree! (The other is a Crabapple, but they aren't in season yet. I'll definitely need a ladder for that one.)
Mulberries are very similar to blackberries (hence my original mistake), but with a few key differences.
- Mulberries grown on trees and blackberries grow on bushes
- Mulberries do not have thorns, but blackberries do
- When picking mulberries, you'll get the small green stem along with the fruit, while blackberries come off clean
- Mulberries are slightly sweet if picked ripe, blackberries are generally sour
- Mulberries change colors from green > white > red > purple, while blackberries come in from dark purple > black
- Mulberries stain! I cannot wear gloves when picking these berries because without fail they will squish and stain my gloves. Instead, you have to be super careful, especially if they are over-ripe, and generally I end up with purple fingernails when I'm done picking. Blackberries don't stain.
- Silk worms grow in mulberry leaves, but blackberry leaves only feed certain grazing animals
I also happen to know first hand that squirrels and bunnies love mulberries! The berries are very delicate on the branches and fall off easily, so anytime a squirrel is in their hanging upside down to snatch up the delicious fruit, it's without fail there will be ten times as many berries falling to the ground. Those creatures are not gentle on branches.
Now, how am I going to use all these mulberries? My go-to recipe always has to do with canning, but I'm open to much more this year because we already have several fruits put up from last year and we'll be okay going through this coming winter. However, I don't like to ever run out of our home canned items, so I'll be putting up at least a dozen pints this year. We eat a lot of jam during the winter.
Other than that, I am not a cook by any means. I cook because it's cheaper and we live in the mountains so there's not much around anyway. Honestly, Steven is a much better cook than I am. I wish he would cook more because then we would be eating a lot better, hah!
This is definitely going to be an adventure because we've never had mulberries before, obviously! But I'm sure I can use them just like any other berry. I'll let you know how it goes ;)
Never seen a Mulberry before? Watch the video!