Mulberries are a wonderful fruit and very healthy. They are also very maligned as the trees drop their fruit then the bugs come, the poor trees get cursed and hacked at just because people dont harvest this wonderful fruit. What can you do with them other than just eating them straight off the tree? in my opinon that is the best way to have them but if that dosnt grab you they are very versitile.
My parents have a fairly sizeable property(farm)that have or had (dont know as I havent been there for years)several prolific producers. They picked them and either ate them raw or my mother would stew them and pack them into the freezer to be eaten later. That is the typical western approach to mulberries as we really dont know how to use them. If you dont have a mulberry tree look around your area/neighbourhood and see who has and see if they wouldnt mind someone coming in to clean up the mess made by them as well. Sometimes you can find empty lots of abandoned homes and farms with trees as well. I am all for urban foraging and suggest you do the same as you never know what treasures you can find. Since coming to Turkey and living an eastern lifestyle I have realised that there are many other ways to enjoy them.
|Typical Turkish children eating white mulberries|
|Two Turkish women boiling the fruit juice to make Pekmez|
After my sucess with making Mulberry Pekmez I decided to make Mulberry wine. I did the same thing, collected the fruit-squeezed to get the juice then let it sit in a container for a couple of months. I tasted it drained out the dregs and let it sit again. After 6 months it became a thick, sweet syrupy wine. Absolutely delicous. If I could find another 20 kilos of fruit I would make this wine again in a heartbeat.
So what has all this to do with Mulberry leaves? well Im getting to that. The mulberry leaves are also edible. You can use them to make yaprak dolma, dolmades and stuffed grape vine leaves. All you have to do is to substitute the grape leaves for mulberry ones. Mulberry leaves are furrier than grape leaves you say, yes they are but that all goes away when you boil them. To prepare them for stuffing you need to blanch them for a few minutes in boiling water. Drain. Click on this link for the recipe to stuff the leaves. You might notice a difference between the stuffed grape leaves you might be used to seeing in your local deli and these ones. Turkish ones are usually thinner than their Greek counterparts. I like both but do prefer the thinner ones. For the Turks the thinner the better, if yours are not rolled tightly enough or are too fat expect to hear disparaging comments. Less is more again in this situation. The plate you see below was prepared by me not by a relative or neighbour.
|Mixed plate of stuffed vine and mulberry leaves|