Mulberry fruit is native to India and China but is cultivated in widespread locations to this day. UK mulberry trees are typically deciduous and can grow to an impressive 20 metres if you buy the right variety. Of course, not all gardens can accommodate such an impressive sized tree and there are smaller options to consider. These berries are about 1-1.5 cm in length and can be a deep purple but you can also get red, black, white and pink berries.
Mulberries were cultivated by the Ancient Greeks and Romans for silkworms. In modern times, you will find mulberries growing successfully on roadsides and commonly in wild areas. Silkworms feed on the white mulberry leaves and they are used in traditional medicines too. Mulberries have a sweet taste and are a popular choice of fruit to use for jam.
What Is Mulberry Fruit?
Black mulberries, native to southwest Asia, can be found growing in abundance in the wild here in the UK. White mulberries originate from China and are the least common variety of Mulberry.
It is white mulberries that silkworm feeds on and is commonly grown in China.
You can identify black mulberry trees from their heart-shaped leaves and their unique cluster of flower spikes. By August and September, the fruit will have changed from red to black and can then be harvested.
White mulberries originate from China are rarer to find in the UK. It is white mulberries that silkworm feeds on and thus the fruit is commonly grown in China. White mulberry trees have a willowy trunk and the leaves and flowers are very similar to that of black mulberries. The white fruit can be harvested in the summer months.
What Does it Taste Like?
Mulberries have a habit of being a little unpredictable when it comes to taste, they will either taste sweet or have a bit of a tart flavour to them. This isn’t always dependent on the colour – just to throw another curveball into the mix. It often comes down to the conditions the fruit grows in and how well-positioned they are. They have a circular to oval appearance and are made up of lots of tiny fruits in clusters.
Popular Ways to Eat Mulberries?
Mulberries can be a pleasant snack on their own or as a cereal topper or part of a fruit salad. If the flavour is a little tart, you could add some sugar or a little honey. They can also be used in any recipes calling for raspberries or blueberries. Making jam or a big fruit pie is an effective way of using up a mulberry glut.
- Scientific Name: Morus alba
- Fruit Family: Moraceae
- Related to: Jackfruit, breadfruit, and figs.
How to Grow Mulberries
How often have you seen mulberries for sale in your local supermarket? Chances are they are a rarity, so growing them in your garden can be an exciting opportunity.
It’s worth pointing out though, that mulberry trees are slow to produce fruit – you can be waiting up to 9 years. However, they are a heavy cropper once they get going so it is very much worth the wait.
Before the fruition season in July, you can first enjoy the unusual heart-shaped leaves and clusters of white flowers. The colour of the berries will depend on the variety you purchased but they will brighten up the garden space. You can plant yours during Spring when there isn’t the threat of frost. Large trees will spread a lot so do take this into consideration when choosing your spot. You will need plenty of sunshine for your mulberry tree if you want to encourage fruit to develop over the years.
Harvesting Mulberry Fruit
Harvesting season for garden-grown mulberries is during the months of August and September.
You will know when they are ready to be picked as they will be larger than they were and will have reached a deep colour.
Top Tip: If you are planning to pick your mulberries by hand then it’s important to wear gloves as this fruit does stain the skin. You can also pop a sheet down under the tree and simply shake the branches to dislodge the mulberries.
How to Use Mulberries
Once you have picked your mulberries you are likely to have more than you ever envisioned. Therefore, at this stage, we should point out that freezing mulberries is a great option if you wish to preserve your mulberry glut.
For mulberry jam, you only need the fruit itself, sugar, and lemon juice which makes it nice and simple to make. Mulberry muffins are a tasty treat and once made, they can also be frozen. Mulberries can also be used in several drink recipes, including, wine, gin, lemonade and smoothies.
Mulberry trees are popular worldwide due to their uses, flavour, and their nutritional content. There is a lot of goodness to be enjoyed in these small berries.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K1
- Vitamin E
How Many Calories in Mulberry Fruit?
100g of fresh mulberries contains 43 calories per 100g, 9.8g of carbohydrates and 1.7g of fibre.
Mulberry Health Benefits
While you enjoy these low-calorie fruits, you can also be reassured by their many health benefits which we have included below.
Full of Iron
Iron helps to move oxygen around your body and helps boost energy levels. A lack of iron in your body can lead to your body becoming rundown, making you prone to exhaustion and illness.
There are a variety of vitamins found in mulberries and they each do a different job. Vitamin C is essential for the immune system and promotes healthy skin. Vitamin K1 assists blood clotting and Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect the body.
Findings in studies have demonstrated that a diet rich in mulberries can lower cholesterol levels. This then breaks down plaque which can build up on the artery walls.
Cognitive diseases can be avoided by consuming mulberries due to their high levels of flavonoids. They are believed to also encourage good eye health, decreasing the risk of cataracts.
Mulberries are quite a fragile fruit so it is best not to put them under running water – this may damage them. Instead, fill a bowl with water and give them a wash this way.
Mulberries are edible and are not in any way toxic or poisonous. They can make you ill if you eat them before they have ripened. Eating them in large amounts may lead to sickness and diarrhoea.
You can eat white mulberry fruit and enjoy their high Vitamin C content but they are not common in the UK.