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Summer Mulberries

 

Mulberries picked at Schram Park State Recreation Area.  Lexi Christensen/NEBRASKAland Magazine

Mulberries picked at Schram Park State Recreation Area near Gretna.
Lexi Christensen/NEBRASKAland Magazine

While visiting Schram Park State Recreation Area, I was excited to see that mulberry season has returned. These tiny purplish-black berries have been a favorite summer treat of mine ever since I was a kid. I loved picking them while I went on walks around my neighborhood and I remember being shocked that I could eat something from the wild.

Mulberries don’t just taste good, they’re good for you. They are packed full of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin E, folate, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. These berries are also a great source of fiber and protein.

Mulberries are rich in nutrients and antioxidants too. Some of the phytonutrients in mulberries such as resveratrol can help protect you from cancer and stop the growth of already present cancer cells. Mulberries have also been known for antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Surprisingly, mulberries can be used as a hangover cure after a night of drinking. Mulberries speed up the rate of at which alcohol is digested into our bodies and gets rid of the alcohol more quickly than our bodies can on their own.

Going bald? Mulberries can help with that too. Supposedly, rubbing mulberry juice all over your scalp can help make your roots strong and promote hair growth. But you’ll have to decide if having a purple scalp is better than being bald… mulberries are notorious for their stains.

The leaves of the mulberry tree are the main diet for the silk worm, but we can eat (or drink) them too. Just like berries produced by the tree, its leaves have health benefits as well. The leaves from the mulberry tree can be used for teas that supposedly help regulate blood sugar levels and can also help reduce the level of bad cholesterol.

Remember when picking mulberries, you want the berries to be dark purple, almost black in color. If you pick the berries when they are pink-ish or red, they will be tart and not sweet like you want them. And whatever you do, don’t eat them when they are super young and white-green looking… trust me, you’ll end up spitting it out. Wait until they are ripe and ready.

My favorite way to eat mulberries is just straight off the tree or with vanilla ice cream, but you can use them in cobbler, smoothies, pies, jams…or any recipe that calls for berries.

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Mulberries at Schram Park State Recreation Area near Gretna. Lexi Christensen/NEBRASKAland Magazine

Here’s a simple recipe for you to try this Forth of July:

Mulberry Pie

Prep time: 45 mins

Cook time: 45 mins

Recipe makes one 9 inch pie

 

Ingredients:

3 cups mulberries

1 1/4 cups white sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix berries with sugar and flour. Place mixture into bottom pie crust. Dot with butter and then cover with top pie crust. Crimp edges, cut slits in upper crust, and brush with milk. Let pie rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Bake pie in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove pie from oven and let sit on wire rack until cool.

About Lexi Christensen

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