A few years ago, we were playing croquet in the backyard when a friend discovered an 8 foot mulberry tree growing up through the middle of lilac bushes. Happy to have the berries, I left the scraggly tree where it was. The lilacs are unhappy, but the mulberry tree is growing like the weed it is. Today, Tea and I grazed off the lower branches for half an hour and still didn’t pick everything within reach.
Tea was quickly stained purple. He told me that “a girl on the airplane to Belgium had purple fingers, too. It must have been the mulberries.” He’s never seen nail polish on me, so I suppose mulberry stains are a reasonable assumption.
I have great memories of picking mulberries at my friend Rayna’s house when I was little. We’d eat and eat and eat and then, back at home, I’d tell my mom with great excitement about our tasty adventures. She seemed less than impressed, and I have since had the impression that mulberries are a secret treat that only kids appreciate. Except that I still love them.
Straight from the tree, mulberries are sweet and delicious, but my attempts to cook with them have been tasteless flops. It’s as if their flavor is magical and lasts only seconds beyond being separated from the tree. I wish I had confidence that I could bring them inside to make a yummy pie or jam, but in that form, they just don’t taste like anything to me. Does anyone have a successful mulberry recipe? The Internets claim they can be substituted for blackberries but I don’t buy it – they turn to mush when I bake them. I think the best way to eat them is straight from the tree, so anyone who wants some is welcome to stop by the backyard to help themselves.