I was out back looking at my father-in-law’s garden when I saw a mulberry tree. I had never eaten mulberries before so I grabbed a dark berry and bit into the sweetest wild berry I have ever tasted. I was blown away at how good they were. How have I never had these before while living nearly all of my life in the Midwest? To me they look like small blackberries without seeds and taste like a mix between a purple grape and blackberry. I was so excited to discover all of the fruit that was so ready to be harvested they were nearly falling off of the trees. I went in the house searched for the help of my girls and their cousin and went picking. If you have ever picked mulberries before you know how easily they stain your hands and clothes. My oldest decided to use gloves while picking.
We ended up with about 2 quarts of mulberries. Mulberries don’t last more than a day or two if you are lucky so freezing them or making jam or jelly will need to be done rather quickly after picking. I decided to make my first attempt at jam using the recipe below.
Cleaning your berries is very important. Little critters like to hide in them along with bacteria and fungus. I soaked my berries in water and added 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Let them sit for 20 minutes or so. I drained the water and rinsed them thoroughly in a strainer.
After the berries are clean it will be important to take the stems out but these little guys are tough. I started pulling the stems off with my nails but it was staining my fingers and I was sort of squishing the berries in the process. I was sterilizing my jars so I threw in my nail clippers also and used those to clip the stems off. This worked very well and I highly recommend doing it this way.
Once the stems were removed, I placed 6 cups of berries in a medium pot and began smashing them. I used a wooden spoon to smash them because I didn’t have a potato masher. It worked just fine. You will want to mash them to release the juices but it is up to you as to how mashed you want your berries. I personally like some chunky fruit in my jam. Then slowly heat up the fruit to a gentle simmer add your fresh lemon juice and pectin. Some say you need 1/4 c. of the bottled lemon juice to ensure there is enough acidity for preservation. I did not do that this time but I probably will going forward.
Then you will turn up the heat to bring it to a hard boil. Once it begins to boil add your sugar while stirring constantly. After a couple of minutes of a hard boil, reduce heat and place in your sterile jars. Continue with the typical water canning process and enjoy!
Mulberry trees produce continuously through the summer so it isn’t too late to get started or to preserve more if desired.
6 cups of mulberries
5 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons of powdered pectin
Juice from one lemon and/or 1/4 c. bottled lemon juice
Clean berries and rinse thoroughly
Slowly heat the fruit and simmer gently for 10 minutes
Add lemon juice
Add powdered pectin
Bring to a hard boil
Add sugar while stirring constantly
After 1-2 minutes of a hard boil reduce heat and pour into sterile jars