|Our enormous mulberry tree which survived the late frost|
On the weekend we managed to pick a large bucketful of mulberries. There are still tons more on the tree that are not yet ripe so I figure we will get another two weeks before they are gone for the year.
The shame with mulberries is they only fruit for two to three weeks and then they are gone. They also don't keep for long in the fridge if you pick them ripe, so they need to be cooked or eaten (no problems there) as soon as possible. I keep them in the fridge in a recycled strawberry or blueberry punnet to have with my oats for breakfast and the rest I stew up to make pies or our all time favourite family breakfast....
The first step to prepare the berries for stewing is to wash them in cold water to remove any dirt or pests. The next job is to remove the stems. If you pull the stem out you will end up with a pretty squished berry so I usually just cut the tips off with a sharp knife and place the ends in my compost. Your fingers will be very purple by the end of this process and people say you can remove the dye by rubbing your fingers with a green mulberry but I have found this doesn't work...and it's a waste of what will grow into another ripe mulberry! A liquid soap or hand sanitiser will do the job effectively.
For this batch of stewing I had the following ingredients:
3 cups mulberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
As the berries will release a lot of juice when cooking you don't need to add a lot of water but we like to pour the syrup over the top, so this quantity will allow for that.
Place your clean and de-stemmed mulberries in a saucepan over low heat and simmer covered for about 20 mins.
I like the berries to still hold their form and be firm in the stew but if you like your berries mushy you could stew for a further 10 mins.
I then make a basic pancake dough with the following ingredients:
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup milk
It is important that the dough be quite thick and well mixed because you don't want to squish the berries too much by over-stirring. You can then add about 3/4 cup of stewed mulberries (the rest we freeze for pies/cakes) or according to your taste, and stir in. Add more flour if the mixture is too runny, then cook in a butter-greased frypan over medium heat. This recipe served nine of us with two to three pikelet-sized pancakes each.
To top it off we serve the warm pancakes with ice cream, a few fresh berries and syrup drizzled over the top. Yum!! Any other suggestions for what to make with my frozen stewed mulberries?
After a full belly of pancakes, I then drove to the duckpond markets to buy fresh eggs (fixing the chooky pen is on my wishlist) and seedlings. I came home with two litres of worm fertiliser (hmmm worm farm for Christmas?) from the organic gardener and the above seedlings which include kale, beetroot, red onion, parsley, nasturtium, english spinach and an artichoke (wrong time of year for here I think?) just for fun. Now to finish those gardens.....