The Magical Mulberry
The Perfect Yard-To-Fork Produce….And A Recipe To Back It Up!Jump to Recipe
When I was five years old, I was living my best life. I lived on an acreage in the country with my parents and my two older brothers. My best friend and I would spend the summers running through sprinklers and eating bubblegum push pops out of toilet paper tubes (if you’ve ever had one, you know what I’m talking about). But, summer just wasn’t complete without the bottom on my feet being stained purple. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Good! Keep reading!
At the far southwest corner of our property, nestled between the corn field and our neighbors fence, was a huge berry tree. The berries looked like small blackberries, but were sweeter and more watery. Eating these tender morsels became my professional pastime. The only drawback? The ground beneath the canopy was littered with the overripe fruits.
This posed a problem, as I was barefoot about as often as I was outside. I can still feel the squelching of berries under my tip toes as I reached for the branches that held my afternoon snack. Little did I know, or frankly care, that every step was dying the soles of my feet a darker shade of purple. Until my mother noticed….then I suddenly became VERY aware. Oops!
Should this have prevented me from nature snacking again? Now, as a mother myself, I would say “yes.” But, 5 year me had other opinions. Purple soles became a regular summer occurrence.
All Grown Up
As an adult, I have never forgotten those berries. I didn’t know what they were called, so I didn’t know how to find them. For years, I searched the grocery store produce aisles hoping to catch a glimpse of my favorite childhood nature treat. No luck. Then one day, the answer literally fell into my lap…or actually into my yard.
It was summer of 2016. A random tree sapling had implanted itself on the east side of our house. Call it laziness if you’d like (I call it fate), but the tree was left there to grow for the entire year. To our amazement, it had grown into a 6 foot tall, gorgeously dense tree in it’s first season! Now, we were curious. So, instead of chopping this beast down, we decided to transplant it.
We plopped it in an empty corner, and let it grow. At first, we identified it as a birch tree. It seemed perfect for the space and I couldn’t wait to see if it was going to make it. One year passed. Then two years. It had not only survived the transplant, but was thriving! We were ecstatic!
Then one day, I was walking through the backyard when something caught my eye. Little spots of red were popping off the green backdrop of our birch tree. I raced over to discover they were berries! But, birches don’t have berries….so what kind of tree is this????
After a brief research session, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Right there, on the Google results page, was a picture of my childhood tree and the berries I remember nibbling on. Underneath the picture was the name I’d been searching for for years…mulberries!
Yard To Fork
These days, the term “farm to fork” is widely used. More and more, restaurants want fresh, local ingredients that are as untampered as possible. The less chemicals and man-made interference the better! Not only do the results usually taste better, but they are better for our bodies too. But how about “yard to fork?”
As I’ve come to learn, mulberries are the perfect example of “yard to fork” produce. Mulberry trees are aggressively fast growers and mass fruit producers. Mulberries make great pies, bars, jellies and jams, syrups, and sauces. The leaves can even be used to make tea. Read Mulberries 101:Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits OR Mulberry Tree Leaf: Benefits & Uses for more information.
Wildlife love mulberries even more than I do. The best part is, unlike most fruiting plants, there is plenty to go around! My mulberry tree produces more fruit than I can pick. So, unlike most of my fruiting trees, no netting is required to protect the fruits from thieves. The mulberry way is “the more the merrier!”
Another reason why I love Mulberry trees, is MORE MULBERRY TREES! Every year, we find little mulberry saplings around our deck, shed, and sides of our house. This is from birds eating the berries and then pooping them out. The seed filled waste lands in the dirt and just like magic, a tree sprouts up.
There are so many reasons to love mulberry trees!
If you are interested in getting a Mulberry tree, I only have two tips for you…
- Plant the tree a good distance away from your deck or cars. Mulberry trees are messy. Birds that love mulberries are even messier! And I’m not talking about their feathers…
- Wear shoes that you don’t mind ruining! I mean…I still don’t wear them. HAHA! But, I also don’t mind scrubbing the stains off the bottom of my feet. I’m not the Messy Masterpiece Blog for nothing! Wink!
If you are ok with both of these conditions, then I urge you to strongly consider finding yourself a mulberry tree. And if you’re not, think about doing it for nature. It’s amazing how much more alive our yard becomes every time we add another “green baby” to our collection. This mulberry tree was no exception.
The possibilities with a mulberry tree are endless. Whether you want to attract more nature, or are looking to add something extra to your homestead, mulberries are a great option! Don’t believe me? Read more at Why You Should Plant A Mulberry Tree (Or Three) to be persuaded further.
Maybe you’re like me and are more motivated by food than by words. I got ya’! At the bottom of this page you will find one of my favorite mulberry recipes…Mulberry Pie Bars! All you need to do, is rummage up a few cups of mulberries. I’m willing to bet someone you know already has some…just ask around!
Can’t find anyone with mulberries? I’ve come to learn that mulberries are fairly easy to forage for. It can even be a fun (and free) activity to get your family off the tech and into the world. Get started with How to Forage for Mulberries.
Whatever you decide to do, please be sure to let us know how it went on my Contact page! You’re feedback is important to me and only helps Messy Masterpiece Blog get bigger and better!
Happy mulberry hunting (and eating), readers!
Mulberry Pie BarsCourse: Dessert, Family Favorite
1 1/2-2 cups flour
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup milk
3 cups mulberries (you can also substitute or add black raspberries, raspberries, or blackberries for different flavors)
1/2 cup maple sugar (I use this one, but you can also substitute granulated sugar instead)
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp almond extract
- Make the crust by mixing first three ingredients until well combined. Divide the crust in half.
- Press one half of the crust into the bottom of a square baking dish. Set the other half aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the filling ingredients, Then pour the filling mixture over the bottom crust.
- Crumble the rest of the crust on top of the filling and gently press it down.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45mins.