Top 5 Ways to Use Mulberries
Of all the fruits, mulberries are perhaps the most elusive, which gives them a delightful mystique. It’s not that they’re rare or difficult to grow, they’re just too delicate and perishable for supermarkets to stock. They may, however, make a fleeting appearance at farmers markets, but the most likely place to find these berries is on the tree, reserved for the fortunate few who happen to have—or know someone who has—a mulberry tree.
Mulberries look like elongated blackberries, making the two sometimes confused, though they are not related. Part of the Morus family, mulberries are related to the fig, jackfruit, and breadfruit. Most commonly black, red, and white, mulberries are juicy and sweet with varying degrees of tartness, which depends on variety.
As well as a delicious summertime treat, they are also bursting with health-promoting nutrients. One cup of fresh mulberries packs an impressive 85% DV (Daily Value, based on 2,000 calories/day) of vitamin C, 14% DV of bone-healthy vitamin K, and 10% DV of filling dietary fiber, as well as iron, vitamin E, and potassium. Mulberries are also a good source of anthocyanins, the antioxidant plant compounds responsible for this berry’s deep color, which provide many health benefits, including protection against heart disease.
Check out Sharon’s Instagram video about mulberries here.
They are mostly eaten fresh or dried, and due to their fragile nature, often are made into jam, syrup, or mulberry wine, but there really is no limit on how to enjoy mulberries. If you’re lucky enough to find them, grab them! Store, unwashed, in the refrigerator where they’ll keep for a few days, or freeze them. Enjoy fresh or frozen mulberries as you would your favorite berries—over porridge, in salads, baked into muffins and cobblers, frozen into sorbet or fruit bars. Don’t forget about dried mulberries, which are a great anytime snack, but they’re great in granola and trail mixes too.
Top 5 Ways to Use Mulberries
1. Step-up Porridge. Nothing sweetens the morning like plump, juicy mulberries atop a steaming bowl of porridge made from steel-cut oatmeal, buckwheat groats, or your favorite whole grain. If you like a little extra sweetness, stir in a ribbon of molasses or maple syrup, and for added crunch, mix in a few slivered almonds or chopped walnuts. The variety of textures, flavors, and aromas in such a simple dish is so wonderfully satisfying. Give it a try!
2. Beautify Salads. Mulberries are irresistibly pretty! Black or red, they bring a happy burst of brightness to lots of dishes, but they pair especially well in seasonal salads. Make mulberries the inspiration for your next fruit salad by choosing fruits of contrasting colors, degrees of sweetness, and texture. The novelty of this underutilized berry will make an otherwise common salad a crowd pleaser. Give them a try in green salads made with spinach, kale, butter lettuce, or mixed greens, which are just asking for the sweet-tartness of mulberries. Toss with a light citrus vinaigrette—that’s it!
3. Nosh with Nut Butter. Why not switch out jelly and jam and berry up your next sandwich? Nut butters—almond, peanut, cashew, sunflower—and berries have a heavenly rapport when paired. Mulberries are especially fun because they can be nestled whole atop a thick layer of nut butter swathed upon a slice of whole grain bread, or they can be smashed and smeared from crust to crust. Either way, take advantage of in-season berries, and save jarred spreads for the off season. You’ll be glad you did.
4. Freeze ‘em! Fresh mulberry sorbet is one of the best ways to cool off or just treat yourself to a refreshing, healthy snack. In a blender or food processor, combine mulberries—fresh or frozen—with a little lemon juice and a taste of honey, depending on the sweetness of the berries. Whir until smooth, taste to adjust lemon juice and honey, and freeze to desired consistency. Try mixing mulberries with other berries, like strawberries or raspberries, for a mixed berry sorbet. Pop them into popsicle molds for fun handheld portions.
5. Dry Them Out. Mulberries are best when fresh, but if you want to change things up, dry them—or purchase them dried. They make a wonderful snack on their own, but they also enhance granola and trail mix as well as baked goods, like muffins. Use them just as you would other dried fruits for something new. They could be your new favorite!
Written by Lori Zanteson
Photos by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN
For other top ways to use plant foods, check out the following: