Friday, May 31, 2013

Totally Awesome Mulberry Cobbler!


 
Two weeks ago I was out at my favorite foraging haunt when I discovered these beauties!  They were not quite ripe yet then but yesterday about a third were perfect.  I had never picked mulberries before.  I started by plucking the berries off of the limbs.  The wind was blowing strongly, and I thought that the "just shake the branch" technique which I had read about would not work.  It was slow going, and I was ready to try something else.  I grabbed a branch and gently shook.  It rained mulberries!  I got out my old sheet and spread it out.  Just so you know, mulberries will stain anything they land on.  After about 15 minutes of shaking and moving around the tree, I had about two pounds of perfect fresh mulberries.

Raining Mulberries
Contrary to the children's song, Mulberries are trees and not bushes. The berries are actually not berries but clusters of fruit like grapes that are fused together.  There are no hard seeds in them like other similar looking berries.  Apparently to those who enjoy the fruit, every Mulberry tree is slightly different.  I visited another tree in Nashville several days ago and the berries were hard, sharp and white, not at all like these but still in the same family.  Some people dislike mulberries because of the sweet, low acidic and occasionally bland taste.  However, different trees have different flavors.  When you find one you like, you win the jackpot!  The tree I found has excellent flavor, sweet with a hint of tartness making it what I consider a fantastic find!
Mulberries will turn your fingers purple!

Herbalist claim that mulberries are cognitive enhancers that improve memory and vision. Mulberries have significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals called anthocyanins. These berries have shown to have potential health effects against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections. Mulberries also contain resveratrol, another polyphenol flavonoid antioxidant, also found in grapes and supports heart health. They are also excellent sources of vitamin C and iron, among other vitamins.

Mulberries are often used for jams, jellies, wine, syrup, sauces and in a variety of desserts.  You can freeze, can or dry them.  I made cobbler with my mulberries and froze the rest while I wait for the wild crab apples to finish growing so I can make jelly.


It is optional whether you want to remove the small stem.  I eat them with the stem. It is soft and tasteless, at least right after you pick them!  If they will affect the presentation of the desert, recruit some kids to help as it is time consuming.  Cut stems off as close to the berry as possible.

Mulberry Cobbler Recipe

Ingredients:

1/3 cup butter
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups of mulberries (removing stem optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add the butter to baking pan and place in the preheated oven until butter is melted. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Mix in milk until smooth. Pour mixture in to baking pan containing the butter and drizzle berries on top. Sprinkle with two tablespoons sugar. Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. 

This is great served with vanilla ice cream.



20 comments:

  1. The cobbler is yum. I doubled the batch and put it in a 9 X 13 in pan to take to church. The berries are from a park near my house. I pick them when nobody is looking. (hehe) But "we got alotta wild berries aroun' here!"

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  2. I have a question. What do you do if you see tiny bugs? I washed my berries twice and still saw them. They would disappear for a few seconds and then I would see them again! They don't actually bother me, but because of them, I don't feel confident serving them to other people- especially raw.

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  3. New Life on a Homestead has a fantastic post on how to remove the worms from the blackberries: http://newlifeonahomestead.com/2013/08/how-to-get-worms-out-of-blackberries/
    Basically, soak them in salted ice water and then rinse.

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  4. the bugs are most likely caterpillars for moths. Both mulberry and Osage orange have problems with silk producing bugs. I have to check my tree frequently at the start of season. Especially if the weather has been mild. Cold delays them and can preserve the new spring leaves while still allowing the fruit to come. If you own the tree and see damaged leaves or just the bugs. I recommend pruning the whole branch. Otherwise you may end up with a silk covered skeleton of a half chewed tree. I wanted to keep my fruit from pesticides so I use plain observation. If the tree is small and young try washing with ivory soap solution pay attention to the underside of the leaves. Little black dots are usually the next round of eggs.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Hi Mike, you were supposed to mix the milk into the dry ingredients until smooth. Sorry if I did not make that clear.

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  7. Oh wow, you're right. I missed the milk! :P I'll delete my original comment.

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  8. how long can you keep the cobbler after you made it? I have fresh mulberries now (Monday) but want to serve the cobbler on Sunday. Am I best to freeze them and then make it on Sunday?

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  9. how long can you keep the cobbler after you made it? I have fresh mulberries now (Monday) but want to serve the cobbler on Sunday. Am I best to freeze them and then make it on Sunday?

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    Replies
    1. If you keep them without freezing they ferment a little... we kept them overnight and they smelled like beer. :(

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  10. Mulberries tend to fade fast which is why you don't see them in the grocery store. They are hard to keep. If you don't use them with in three days, I would freeze them, which works great!

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  11. Anyone make this leaving the tiny stems on? It's a lot of trouble taking them off

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  12. I don't take the stems off. My husband and kids don't even notice.

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    Replies
    1. Ok cool. Oh, what size pan do you use for this recipe?

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  13. When I pick my mulberries, or any berry, I immediately place them in a ziploc baggies and freeze. Freezing temps will kill those bugs. When ready to thaw, rinse thoroughly. :)

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  14. This definitely more like cake and not a cobbler.

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  15. I agree that this was more like a cake than a cobbler. I was expecting it to be juicy with more fruit than cake. It reminded me of a quick coffee cake (kuchen?) with fruit slices on top.
    I removed about half of the stems, and hoped that the rest would not be noticeable. However, my family found that the stems were not easy to ignore. It wasn't my favorite, but if you don't mind the stems, it's pretty good.

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