October 13, 2011

Mulling Over Mulberries

Mulberries picked straight from our tree - not "bush" - tree!!

Two days after my return from Europe, one of our lovely 'pensioner' chookies went missing.  We only had three left.  At a guess, they're around seven or eight years old.  Not sure if she 'up and died' or a fox happened along.  Simply not a trace.  No feathers, no sign, no nothing.

As I was so focused on the ground searching for her, I cruised past the mulberry tree without even looking at it.  What did catch my eye however were the number of mulberries on the ground.  Looking up, I nearly died.  Mulberries everywhere.  What the???  It's October! We never have mulberries in October!  Late August to mid September and that's the season over. At least that's what it used to be.

What a surprise!  After feasting my face, my mind turned to "what can I make".   I haven't made mulberry jam before.  Let's give that a go.  A recipe search indicated mulberry jelly too, but I wanted something that retained the whole fruit.  Jam it is.

Intensely flavoured Mulberry Jam - you simply can't buy the stuff - gorgeous!

My score?  Pretty good.  In hindsight, I would have mashed the fruit a bit more, as there were whole pieces of mulberry throughout the mixture.  My son and Hubby loved it.  They thought it tasted, would you believe, 'just like mulberries!'  Gosh I laughed.   The flavour was undeniably intense and sooo real.

Another kilo or so a few days later.  Another mull.  Together with some green apples that I found in the crisper since before I left for Europe - that's right - about two months ago - I threw together an apple and mulberry crumble.  My goodness!!!  Delicious!!!  The 'old' apples were fine and the mulberries worked brilliantly.

Close your eyes and taste that fruit.  

The mulberry season is short.  A couple of weeks and the mulberries are over.  For this year at least, my mulberry love affair will last so much longer.  Aren't home-made jams the best?  I do feel blessed.   What a fortunate find - largely due to an 'unfound' chookie.

Mulberry Jam

1.8 kgs of mulberries
1.2 kgs of castor sugar
1 freshly picked lime
100 mls home-made pectin stock

Place the mulberries, sugar and juice from one whole lime in a large cooking pot.  Allow to sit for about half an hour so the sugar may further extract juice from the mulberries.  Mash a little, add the pectin stock, turn heat on low setting.  Using your wooden spoon, continually stir the mixture till the sugar has dissolved.  Increase the heat; cook for about ten minutes or till the jam comes together.  Be very careful that the mixture doesn't 'catch' on the bottom of your pot.  Place the wooden spoon into the middle of the cooking jam to check from time to time.  Pour the jam into washed and sterilized jars.  Lid immediately.  Store in a cool, dark, dry place.

Apple and Mulberry Crumble

6 green apples, 'old' is just fine
2 or so cups of whole mulberries
1 lime
castor sugar

Crumble Topping

3/4 cup of plain flour
3/4 cup of dessicated coconut
1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
90gm melted butter

Peel and evenly chop your apples.  Place in  a pot with about six tablespoons of castor sugar, the juice of one lime and approx. 2 cups of water.  Bring to boil, simmer, till apples are softened but not falling apart.  Drain the syrup; reserve. Set aside.

Put about half a cup of the syrup plus one tablespoon of sugar over the mulberries.  Mix and allow to macerate.  It doesn't matter for how long.  Mine sat for a couple of hours.  Once the apple has cooled, mix together with mulberries, juices too.  Carefully mix so as not to break up too much - I like to see whole pieces of fruit throughout the dish.  Place into a baking dish.  Pour over another half a cup or so of the reserved apple syrup.  

Make the crumble topping by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl.  I used my hands to do this.  When the mixture begins to 'crumble' from the palms of your hands, then it has pretty much come together.  If there are greasy lumps still, then add a little more flour.  Rub again.  Your mixture really needs to have an even crumble texture.  Sprinkle this over the fruit; place into a moderate, preheated oven; bake for about 20 minutes till topping is a nice, golden brown.  You should also notice some lovely purple juice coming up the sides of the dish.   Cool a little; enjoy with vanilla ice cream or thickened cream.  It's just too good!


  1. How lovely...sighhh...lucky you.:)..picking mulberries and apples off a tree....the pie looks to die for !

  2. Oh wow! It's really been the season for mulberries! How great that you have all that lovely produce to play with, although I'm sorry to hear about your lost chookie.. :(

  3. Indeed; delicious it is Ann. Thanks for dropping in.

    Hi dear - well at least the mulberries are straight off the tree - notice Zurin I said 'tree'. Heaven knows where the verse "here we go round the mulberry bush" came from. The crumble was to die for - seriously! Mariana xxxx

    Oh how nice to see you Celia. You must have ESP or something. I was thinking of you when I made the jam because of the homemade pectin I used. I still have some left from earlier this year and it has been fantastic. Thanks for the recipe. Or thanks to Pete - not sure who to thank here. Also, I'm going to post a 'what's in my kitchen' next. No joke about the ESP - see! Hehe. Mariana xx

  4. I looked at a mulberry tree in the garden centre the other day and wondered what the fruits taste like. Your pictures make me really want to know now. I will keep my eyes peeled next year. They look too good to be true and your jam is beautiful as ever. :)

  5. Not sure how to describe how a mulberry tastes Joanna. I can tell you that there is a rather long stem right down the middle of the berry. To keep all the 'bally' bits attached I suppose. I don't bother removing this either, just nicking the top bit off is sufficient for jam-making. The colour of the mulberry is a deep purple and very staining on clothes - so don't wear anything good when mulberry-munching! Mariana xx