Friday, June 21, 2013

Mulberry Madness

Mulberries, Photo by Tori Beveridge

Last week, while picking radishes and lettuce from the garden, I noticed our mulberries were starting to ripen.

Radishes and mulberries Photo by Tori Beveridge AHWT

A few found their way into my basket, but it was obvious I was going to need to come out with baskets and bowls just for the berries.

Last year, because it was so hot and dry, there were barely enough mulberries for the birds and wild animals.   This year the trees are laden.  We've been picking every day, twice a day and have picked and frozen pounds and pounds of these delicious berries.

We always keep some fresh to snack on and to cook with.

The very first quart we picked, went straight (after rinsing)  into my 8 x 8 pan, ready to be made into cobbler.

Mulberries in the pan, Photo by Tori Beveridge

Yes, you can leave the little green stems on, thank goodness!

This is my favorite Mulberry Cobbler recipe.  It has a delicious shortcake like crust and the mulberries cook up sweet and juicy underneath it.  I originally got the recipe from Circle B Kitchen, HERE, and made a few slight changes to it.

Mulberry Cobbler

1 qt mulberries 
2 tablespoons lemon juice (one small lemon)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water (if  using frozen berries, eliminate the water)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon butter

1 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup lard or butter
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place mulberries in an 8 x 8 pan.

In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, water, cornstarch, salt and sugar.  Stir until the cornstarch is dissolved.  Microwave for 30 seconds.

Pour the cornstarch mixture over the berries in the pan.  Mix gently.  Cut the butter into small pieces and dot the top of the berries with them.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Cut in the lard or butter with a knife or pastry blender, until the pieces are the size of small peas.  Slowly add the milk, stirring until a soft dough is formed.  Form into a ball and knead on a floured board for 20 to 30 seconds. Roll the dough out to the size of your baking pan.  Dough will be 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. 

Place the dough on top of the berries.  Cut 2 or 3 slashes on the top for steam to escape and sprinkle the top with a little more sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.  We like it completely cooled.

Delicious plain or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Mulberry Cobbler, Photo by Tori Beveridge

I've made three cobblers since we started our harvest.  They don't last long around here.

I also made Mulberry liqueurs, one batch with vodka, one batch with brandy.

Mulberry Liqueurs, Photo by Tori Beveridge

They won't be ready until September.

And, yes, of course I've made Mulberry Jam.

Mulberry Jam, Photo by Tori Beveridge

Mulberries do not have a lot of natural pectin, so the jam tends to be more saucy than other jams.  This makes it perfect for topping pancakes, soaking into biscuits and topping ice cream.  Some people strain their jam of the fruit and seeds to make jelly, but I like to keep them in.  The seeds which rise to the top when you make the jam, stir easily through the jam once opened and don't rise back up.

So, what do I do when I have plenty of eggs and Mulberry Jam?

Eggs and mulberries, Photo by Tori Beveridge

I make fresh popovers and jam!  Perfect for brunch or tea.

Popovers and Mulberry Jam, Photo by Tori Beveridge

My husband has requested a Mulberry Pie for dinner tonight, so I must be off.  I hope you're enjoying mulberry season too.

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