Some weeks ago I was out on a trail looking for morels (not a darn one this year...I am so bummed) and found a patch of wild strawberries (also known as mock strawberries or indian wild strawberries) which were just starting to show their yellow flowers. I have a small amount that grow in my yard, so when I saw mine were grown and ready to pick I went back out to the trail to cash in. On my way I found the earliest ripened mulberries on some trees, so I just rinsed and froze what I found of both that day...only about 8 ounces. But that should be a couple servings this winter. It all adds up, right?
Mulberries were on my list previously, but I have added a number of trees to the list over the last couple of weeks. It's a great year for mulberries. We didn't have a late freeze and we've had lots of consistent rain. Cha-ching!
Last week Steve (who should be nicknamed "Good Sport Steve") and I made a mulberry haul of 3 pounds in one trip. Afterwards we looked like we had committed a very heinous crime. (Don't wear a white t-shirt if you intend to pick a lot of these berries.) On the walk back home we accidentaly got lost in a hotel while taking a "shortcut" winding back through part of town. Imagine the security footage of two wandering adults with red-stained clothes and a big bag of something being carefully carried.
I went ahead and canned the mulberries in a light syrup and ended up with 4 and 1/2 pints. I need to make another trip soon as some of the trees still have berries not yet fully ripened, but this is a good start. Here was my process:
- Washed berries (I rinsed and picked out little leaf bits, mashed berries, etc three times)
- Prepared a light syrup. I try to keep the syrup as light as possible so I'm not using an amount of sugar that makes me question the whole process! You can split your sugar with honey to make you feel better, or just go nuts with the sugar, I don't care. My light syrup was 5 and 3/4 cups of water with 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar brought to a boil. I had a good amount of syrup leftover...so you don't quite need that much for 3 pounds of mulberries. I was just guessing high on the amount I needed so I'd be sure to have enough.
- Raw pack sterilized jars. Mulberries are a little delicate, so I chose to raw pack them for canning. This just means I put the raw berries in the hot sterilized jars and poured the boiling syrup over them (leaving 1/2" headspace) before processing in the water bath. (Hot pack is used when you are combining your ingredients with your syrup mixture, bringing all to a boil and pouring into the jars "hot").
- Based on my altitude, 0-1000 ft, I processed the jars in the water bath for 15 minutes.
Go pick ya some!
Image credit: Cale Ruiz