Wild Mulberries

mulberry tree

Last year, I discovered a huge tree, covered with black berries growing by the creek. I looked it up in my field guide and found out that it was a wild Mulberry tree and that the berries are edible and full of vitamin c, iron, calcium and protein. Later that day, I returned to the tree and filled several containers with ripe mulberries. My hands and fingernails were stained dark purple from all of the berry picking, but I didn’t care because I was on a wild mulberry high, from eating several straight off the tree.

When I arrived back home with my berry bounty, I looked up online what I could make with mulberries and was happy to find out that they are very versatile and can be used in a wide variety of recipes. They can be made into mulberry syrup, pancakes, muffins, pie, salsa, ice cream, smoothies, wine etc…They can also just be enjoyed raw, sprinkled on top of yogurt or morning cereal. Mulberries don’t last very long once they’re picked, so if you’re not going to eat them up a few days after harvesting, they can be frozen for future use. I’ve seen health food stores selling sun dried mulberries, so they could probably be sun dried at home to preserve them too.

mulberries

Mulberry trees grow wild all over the world and are fairly easy to identify. The leaves form into 3 different shapes, all on the same tree- oval, mitten-shaped and three-lobed with a toothed edge and soft hairs on the underside. Mulberry trees are most often found growing close to water or in shady moist spots. They start producing berries in late spring and you can start picking them once they become ripe, usually around late May. Most mulberries turn a deep purple-black color when ripe, however, there are also mulberry trees that produce white colored ripe berries.

The berries are easy to harvest- just pick the plump, dark ripe ones by hand or spread a large tarp beneath a mulberry tree and shake the branches and the ripe ones will fall to the ground. If you want to harvest berries from the higher branches, use a sturdy ladder instead of climbing the tree, for your own safety and to avoid damaging the tree’s branches.

Mulberries have been highly valued throughout history, for both their sweet berry flavor and medicinal value. Mulberries contain high levels of reserveratrol, which is the same powerful antioxidant that is found in the skin of red grapes and red wine. Reserveratrol helps to prevent cellular damage by free radicals, reduces the growth of cancer cells, is good for maintaining a healthy heart and promotes longevity. Mulberries have been used medicinally by many cultures, especially the Chinese, to strengthen the kidneys, help with weakness and fatigue, reverse premature gray hairs, balance out blood sugar levels, promote restful sleep and to calm the mind.

18 thoughts on “Wild Mulberries

  1. I was hope to learn how to handle them, they seem so fragile. Will washing hurt them? Should I not worry about the stems? How do I identify a bad one, or need I be concerned with checking every berry?

    What are the chances of getting a mulberry tree if I dump a couple handfulls of berries in a hole?

    Thank you, in advance for your reply.
    Shelley

  2. Shelley,

    Yes, mulberries are fairly fragile, so handle with care. It’s okay to rinse them… probably even preferable, to get rid of dirt and bugs. I put them in my pasta strainer, rinse them with some water and let them drain on a paper towel. I just pick the stems off the berries when I pop them in my mouth. They come off easily without damaging the berry. You could also cut them off with a knife, if you’re preparing a large batch for freezing or a syrup recipe.

    The “bad mulberries” are the ones that aren’t ripe yet (they’re very hard to the touch and are also difficult to pull off the branch). A fully ripe mulberry is dark in color (usually a deep pupleish black) and will come away from the branch without too much effort.

    I’m not sure what the chances are of getting a Mulberry Tree if you plant a few berries in a hole. You would most likely increase your odds if that hole was surrounded by fertile soil and filled with compost.

  3. we have a mulberry tree in school. I would like to harvest it back at home, what method can i use to grow it? i dont really see seeds in the fruits, or meby im wrong. thanx

  4. William on

    There are two types of Mulberry trees common in the US. The Red Mulberry which is native, and the White Mulberry which is native to Asia but is a invasive tree in the US. The native Red Mulberry will have a rough texture to the leaves, but the White Mulberry will have a smoother shinier surface to the leaves. If you want a mulberry tree you should really seek out the red mulberry and avoid the white mulberry. Mulberry seeds are tiny, about the size if a pinhead. The best way to collect seeds is to mash the fruit and pick them out. The seeds should be planted in moist soil in the fall, they will come up in spring.

  5. vanessa on

    on the berries on my tree there are a lot of tiny insects on them. can they still be eaten?

    • KJOW on

      Vanessa – I wish I new the answer…we also had tiny white bugs in our mulberries last year, but didn’t find them this year and wondering if its ok to let my daughter eat them? Does anyone know?

  6. Amber on

    I was wondering if you knew the best way to harvest white mulberry leaves for making tea. I have discovered 2 white mulberry trees in my backyard, along with my red mulberry trees. The fruit is great.. I have made muffins and pancakes, and even juice. My problem has been that the white mulberry leaves (dried, and steeped for 20 min) are not making very good tea. The water just tastes like water. Am I supposed to only pick the young leaves?

    • nicole on

      okay ice trays work great put water in the ice tray then the leaves freeze when you need some grab a cub and put in hot water.

  7. Question: Are the Mulberry leaves edible from a Red Mulberry Tree?

    Wild Trees, Look around the area and you might find a young one growing. They seem to sprout up around our place all over the place. Seem to be pretty hardy when transplanted with enough dirt and keep watered.

    Sandy

  8. I have discovered several black mulberry trees growing in my yard and one especially large that is covered, to my knowledge for the first time,with an abundant crop of berries. Thank you so much for the information contained on this website. I will do my dead level best to harvest every ripe berry and enjoy them in many ways.

    Sincerely,
    Joe

  9. Emilie on

    I discovered one of these mulberry trees in my backyard a few years ago. It’s a tall one too and birds are always eating them. (springtime, all the bird droppings on our cars turn purple instead of their usual white) I’ve always been too scared to eat them without some research, which lead me here among other similar sites. Now that I know they’re safe to eat WHEN RIPE, I think I’ll go harvest them.
    NOTE: mulberries, when eaten unripe, can cause hallucinations but before you go trying to get your trip on, they can also cause horrible gastric disturbances, being sick to your stomach with things coming out both ends. So it’s a gamble. I personally wouldn’t recommend it. So either way, make sure they’re ripe before you go eating them.

  10. Jennifer on

    I ate about 20 wild Mullberries yesterday that I found out later had little tiny bugs all over them (note to self: wear glasses when picking fuiit). I’m living on Pepto-Bisomol, crackers and Gatorade today, and am getting giggles from the staff because I’m basically living in the john.

  11. Heidi on

    Thanks for the info! I just found a wild mulberry tree and although I grew up eating them I just wanted a little reassurance that these, indeed, were the berries of my childhood. Thanks.

  12. Heather on

    I’m wondering if anyone knows the correct way to dry mulberries? We have a several trees on our ranch and I want to perserve them!

  13. nicole on

    okay so if your gonna do feezer jam you need to de-seed them. If you making jelly thenboil them and strain with fine cloth you can by in the baking section. white mulberry bushes are actually very good for you look it up and there sweet like honey.

  14. Amanda-Beth on

    I’m just in a pickle. I was taking out trash as I do every Monday. I know I wasn’t feeling great over weekend but I didn’t think much of it. However as I was taking out trash I spy mulberries on a tree I still took trash out however the mulberries for most not big deal however I’m allergoc I did get trash out however I’m concerned by where their growing and not exactly like tree is in are yard techininacy neighbors yard are trash is picked up in weird spot. And it’s close enough when I go to get mail were if a bird picks a berry and drops it on flight I could be in trouble. Just being near the tree makes me all coughy and wheezy so I now have no doubt I’m still ananphlatic to them should one touch me by accident. It’s just terrifying for getting the mail and taking care of trash. I have taken benadryl and praying it helpw and that I don’t from short exposire with out touching plant its not need a trip to E.R. I know the friit is delcious for those who can enjoy it but I can’t and am in akward situation.

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