I have decided that when life gives me mulberries, I will make sorbet. And oh, has life given me mulberries. When I first moved into this house five years ago, I actually didn’t even notice there were mulberry trees. Of course, we were busy planning a wedding and fixing up the inside of the house, so the backyard was not of top concern. It was only during the second summer, when our husky pup came in with her normally white paws dyed bright purple that we knew something was up. Ohhhhh, there’s mulberry trees in the yard, along the side fence! At first, we only noticed two or three trees, but I actually think there are quite a few more (they’ve kind of all grown together in a jumble, so it’s hard to really tell). Pretty much our whole fence is lined with mulberry trees. Which I think is why so many people consider them a nuisance – they keep propagating and making more trees, and apparently they are very hard to get rid of.
Well, I don’t really mind them at all. They’re in a part of the yard where we don’t really walk or spend much time, and as long as we wipe the dog’s paws before she comes inside, it’s all good. Now, if you’ve never tasted a mulberry, and you asked me to describe it for you, I would probably say “like a blackberry, but not as good.” The flavor is somewhat dull, and very low in acid and tartness. They are, however, incredibly juicy. Oh, and they’re FREE FRUIT, just growing in my yard. I hate to watch all of the berries just drop to the ground, or errrrr….into the air conditioner. Check out the ground behind the AC unit. I told you we had a lot of berries to work with.
As far as harvesting the berries, last year I picked them by hand, standing on a ladder. That took a long time, but it ensured all of the berries I chose were the perfect ripeness and not blemished (since there are so many to choose from, why not be a little selective?). I made a pie with those berries, but the recipe I followed steered me wrong on the amount of sugar to add, and the pie was just way, way too sweet.
This year, I decided to take a different approach to harvesting – laying an old sheet under the trees, and shaking the branches. Well, this was super fast on the front end. But when I got the berries inside, I realized they would need to be sorted. Along with the perfectly ripe ones, I also had underripe berries, way overripe berries, leaves, twigs, and assorted insects (yeah, not for the faint of heart) mixed into the pile. The sorting process on the back end ate up any of the time saved on the front end. So, either way you do it, prepare to invest some time in harvesting your berries.
Because I think that mulberries have a sort of dull flavor, I jazzed up this sorbet with some grated fresh ginger as well as some raspberry liqueur that I had around. These two additions really helped punch up the muted flavor of the mulberries. An added bonus? I didn’t need to buy a single thing to make this – I had it all on hand. When life gives you mulberries, you make FREE dessert!
I’m taking the rest of the week off, so Happy 4th of July everyone! Have some fun in the sun!
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 4 cups mulberries (I didn’t bother to remove the green stems, since I strained the pureed berries later)
- 2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur
- In a small saucepan, bring sugar, water and ginger to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let syrup stand 10 minutes.
- Place berries in blender and pour syrup over berries. Blend until smooth.
- Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, keeping only the liquid. Discard all solids. Stir liqueur into liquid; refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Pour liquid into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s directions for sorbet.
Adapted from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook