After returning from an out of town trip, I looked at my porch and car COVERED in dark bird poop. In year’s past, I cleaned up the mess, throughly annoyed at the extra work required to clean the stains. Although the mess still must be dealt with, there is a silver lining. This is the first sign that mulberries are ripe and ready for harvest!
Berries are God’s original convenience food. My girlfriend Kristin (see her additional blog posts on Gleanforgood.co as kband) told me this is her favorite fruit. She picks these mildly sweet berries strait off the bush, admitting her daily exercise route intentionally passes neighbors’ yards with a hidden harvest. She also loves mulberry jam made with local honey which can be enjoyed year-round.
Mulberries might be abundant in your part of the country as well. If you see the dark purple marks of late June, consider the annoyance an insightful gift. Here is a simple way to make the picking easy and fun.
- Look for mulberry bushes ready for harvest. The trees can be many sizes with fruit at various stages of maturity. Our shelter belt contains mulberry trees from 5 to 12 feet tall. Pick black/purple berries and allow the white and red berries to mature for a second round of harvesting.
2. Grab a monkey (or another tree climbing primate). We set several bed sheets under each bush and encouraged the kids to climb and shake the branches. Fortunately, these berry plants don’t have thorns and beg to be climbed! In general, ripe fruit falls and the underripe fruit remains.
3. Sort the best berries from the debris. I dunked berries in water. This allows hidden insects to float to the top and poured down the sink.
4. Use the berries fresh for your favorite recipe or save them for later. I prefer to place the berries on parchment covered baking pans. I plan to throw these into the freezer overnight, throw them into ziplock bags then add berries to smoothies as I want.
With some hard work, maybe the birds will find something less purple to eat until August! This our first year taking advantage of this treasure. If you have wisdom, recipes or stories to add, Glean welcomes your comments and shares!