Saturday, May 21, 2011

“M” Is for Freezing Mulberries

Mulberries are one of Earth’s little treasures. Not only do they taste wonderful right of the tree but they are actually good for you. They are a good source of antioxidants, nature’s little workhorses that help protect body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation. They also provide anthocyanin, beta-carotene, calcium, carbohydrate, dietary fiber, fatty acids, iron, magnesium, malic Acid, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and resveratrol, Vitamin B, Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
Now that you know they taste good and they are good for you, you probably want to know what to do with them. Well, they can be used in any of your favorite recipes in place of other berries. Just substitute equal part mulberries for whatever your original recipe calls for and you’re in business.
I picked the first batch of mulberries today from the five year old tree in my back yard. It is the first time the tree has produced and I am pleased with the harvest. I got a little less than 1 quart of berries from the first picking and will return again over the coming days and weeks.

This first batch is going into the freezer. I like to have a variety of berries on hand throughout the year for different things. Mulberries can be frozen like any other berries.
A thought about the stems: When mulberries are picked, their tiny green stem comes with them. There is no way around that. Whether to leave them on or remove them is a matter of personal preference. The stems are edible and really have no taste. Removing them by hand often results in most of the berries being mashed. This isn’t a problem if you plan to make jam, jelly or something of that nature. If you want them in a pie or muffins though, you may want to remove the stems. Get a brand new pair of nail clippers and simply clip the stems off. It is time consuming but gets the job done while leaving the berries intact. It is my personal belief that the business of removing stems is one reason mulberries are not sold in the grocery stores. It is probably too expensive to pay someone to remove the stems.
Once you have resolved the stem issue, rinse the berries. Make a solution that is 1 quart tap water and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. The vinegar helps remove any impurities, including tiny insects that might be lurking in the berries. Repeat the process several times, rinsing with just water the last time. Let the berries rest in a colander for ten minutes to remove all the excess water.
Spread the mulberries on a baking sheet with a lip. The berries should be in a single layer and not resting on top of one another. Place the pan in the freezer on a level surface for about 10 to 12 hours. The berries will be frozen solid but will not be suck to one another. Putting all the fresh berries in a freezer bag and tossing them in the freezer will work but will result in one giant block of frozen berries. You would not be able to remove just a few at a time. By freezing them on the pan, you can then pour them into labeled freezer bags, seal and store for six months. When you need just 1 cup for a muffin recipe, simply open the bag and scoop out what you need. This method works for most berries.
Muffins, pancakes, coffee cakes, cobblers, crisps and crumbles are all wonderful with mulberries. I like to add them to my smoothie recipe too. That makes a wonderfully refreshing and healthy cold drink on a hot summer day.
If you want to know more about growing your own mulberry trees, see the posts on my Fruit, Nut and Ornamental Trees 101 blog: Growing Mulberry Trees and Mulberries Fruiting Now.


Joyce Lansky said...

I have never eaten a mulberry.


fanchifamily said...

Thank you! This is so helpful! I just got 4 gallons from my neighbor.

Anonymous said...

I have a big mulberry tree & stuffed myself on them last 2 years. Am thinking of putting a painters plastic around tree to catch the falling ones & harvesting them everyday, for freezing & eating them year round.They have a ripe-season of one month?.

Anonymous said...

You've never eaten a mulberry!? Wow, I can't even imagine that. I grew up with two huge mulberry trees in my back yard, and when I grew up and bought my own house, I planted my own mulberry trees. It takes them about 5-7 years to start producing fruit (depending on the variety of mulberry tree). Mulberry tree don't require very much care, so you don't need a green thumb to grow them, and the fruit is sweet and delicious!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! We have a huge mulberry tree in our yard, and we really enjoy them, now I can't wait to try freezing them!!! :)

Anonymous said...

ok have mulberry trees in my back yard how do I freeze them ? to many to cook all at once

Anonymous said...

Thank you...............decades ago my Mom and I made mulberry jam......I have a tree full of mulberries and wondered if I could freeze them. This is GREAT!!!

Cindy Krenke said...

I do it this way all the time! Excellent info :)

Anonymous said...

I just throw them in a zip lock bag (sandwich size) and put them in the deep freeze. That is just the right size for berry pancakes or berry muffins later in the year. They don't stick together significantly. No need to wash, either. Leave the stems on; it is a big hassle to remove them (you will crush the berry with a knife, or spend hours with scissors or nail clippers). The stems easily snap off while the berry is frozen, so de-stem them by hand just before using - it only takes a moment, and no stained fingers!.

Anonymous said...

they make wonderful jellies or jams, also can make cobblers , just like you would make a peach cobbler may need to add a little sugar.

appliancesboard said...

Those are great time and money saving idea. Thanks for sharing those useful tips.

Anonymous said...

Here's how to EASILY remove mulberry stems:
Spread the berries out in one flat layer on a paper towel on a cookie sheet (not too many berries to a sheet so they don't stick to each other).
Place the cookie sheet in a freezer (chest freezer is best) for a couple of hours until they are frozen solid, then remove.
Roll the frozen berries around vigorously on the sheet with the flat of your hand. The stems will all snap right off.
Then, just pick the berries up and the stems are left on the paper towel.

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