Last Updated on June 27, 2022
If you’ve spied some juicy-looking berries dangling from a neighborhood tree and wondered, ‘Are mulberries edible?’ you’ll be thrilled to learn that mulberries are not only edible, they’re absolutely delicious in loads of tasty mulberry recipes. They’re good for you, too!
Read on to learn about what you can do with mulberries, uses for mulberries, the impressive health benefits of mulberries, as well as tantalizing recipes with mulberries.
FANTASTIC MULBERRY RECIPES TO TRY THIS SEASON
Foraging for berries is one of the highlights of summer. Maybe you’ve gone picking wild black raspberries, juneberries, and elderberries. You may have noticed something that looked a lot like blackberries growing on trees in your neighborhood and seen a bunch of purplish stains on the ground where they land. These are mulberries, and they’re a great summer fruit to forage!
Like other deep purple berries, such as elderberries and aronia berries, mulberries are a terrific source of anthocyanins and resveratrol, some of the anti-inflammatory compounds that help fight free radical damage and prevent cancer.
They’re also a good source of vitamins and fiber and are relatively low in calories and sugar compared to many other fruits. Here’s a paper from the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry if you want to know more about the health benefits of mulberries, but it’s totally fine to just enjoy them because they’re yummy and fun to forage!
FORAGING OR GROWING MULBERRIES
Most of the growing information online says mulberries grow in zone 5 or warmer, but the black mulberries here in zone 4 are doing just fine, thank you very much. Here’s more on growing your own mulberry trees if you want to plant your own. Growing your own usually isn’t necessary, though, as birds plant mulberry trees all over the place.
Take a walk in your neighborhood or in a public park, and you may well see several trees full of fruit. They’re pretty easy to identify, the only tree that appears to be growing blackberries.
Always consult a good field guide for foragers or enlist a local expert so you know what you’re collecting. While most of these plants are easy to identify, others have non-edible or poisonous look alikes.
Here are some of the best foraging books I’ve found.
Mulberries have a long season, with the first berries ripening in June.
Mulberries come in white, light purple, reddish, or deep purple, and each has a slightly different flavor. You can tell when they’re ready by feeling them — unripe fruit will be quite hard, and a berry ready to eat will yield to the touch. If you eat an unripe one, you’ll know by the flavor it needed some more time to sweeten up. It will also be unpleasantly crunchy. The white variety are reported to be sweeter than the black ones we have in my neck of the woods.
HARVESTING MULBERRIES FOR MULBERRY RECIPES
You can pick mulberries by hand, which can be slow going if you have a lot. Ripe ones will come off easily. You can also place a tarp below the branches and give the tree a good shake to collect the ripe mulberries. Make sure to use something you don’t mind getting stained, and probably a good idea to wear clothes you don’t care much about as well!
The stems sometimes come off with the mulberries, but it’s fine to eat them along with the berry. They’re not entirely delicious fresh, but no one will notice if you’re cooking with them.
Mulberries have a thin skin, which means they won’t last long, so gobble ’em up or get cooking with some of the mulberry recipes below. They can sub for blackberries or other berries in a number of recipes, though I find the ones that grow near us less flavorful than blueberries, blackberries or raspberries. Different areas of the country will have different types of mulberry with varying flavors.
Bonus for well-informed foragers: Mulberry leaves are also edible! You can harvest the early leaves for eating as a fresh or cooked green, and the older leaves to make mulberry tree leaf tea, which is not only tasty, but really good for you!
WHAT TO DO WITH MULBERRIES
If you don’t have access to a mulberry tree, you might find mulberries for sale at a berry farm, farmer’s market, or rarely, a grocery store. You can also buy them dry online.
Wondering what to with mulberries? Whether you forage or purchase them, there are loads of uses for mulberries:
- Eat mulberries fresh, with other mixed berries or in fruit salad
- Top your oatmeal, overnight oats, or chia pudding with them
- Bake mulberries into muffins, scones or quick breads
- Substitute mulberries for blueberries in your favorite pancake recipe
- Add to fruit crisps and crumbles (try subbing in mulberries in this lower-sugar recipe from Amy’s Healthy Baking)
- Put them in your favorite smoothie recipe (check out these 50 easy healthy smoothie recipes for inspiration)
- Freeze or dehydrate for smoothies and baking
- Add to purees for homemade fruit leather
- Make mulberry wine! (Recipe from Leaf TV here.)
DELICIOUS MULBERRY RECIPES TO TRY
A lot of mulberry recipes call for more sugar than I tend to recommend, but as long as you’re saving them for a once-in-awhile treat, give some of these yummy mulberry recipes a try! Whether it’s mulberry muffins, pie, or ice cream, there are so many delicious mulberry recipes, you’re sure to find some you love.
♦ I’m a huge fan of muffins. These Mulberry Apple Muffins from Reformation Acres look like a delicious way to enjoy your mulberries.
♦ Love cake? Try this luscious Mulberry Almond Cake from Playful Cooking.
♦ Preserve some mulberry goodness with this Mulberry Jam recipe from Serious Eats or a Mulberry Curd from The Cook’s Pyjamas. If you like chia jams, try this mulberry chia jam from Tasha’s artisan foods.
♦ Did you know mulberries can be used in chutney? Here’s a mulberry chutney recipe from Not Out of the Box.
♦ This mulberry fruit leather is another tasty way to preserve yummy mulberries to enjoy when their season ends.
♦ If you’re a kombucha maker, you have to try The Organic Goat Lady’s Mulberry Kombucha.
♦ Or try this gorgeous mulberry mojito from Babaganosh at your next cocktail hour!
Do you have favorite ways to use mulberries? Leave your favorite mulberry recipes in the comments!
If you love foraging, you can continue finding wild edibles before and after peak fruit season. Some options to consider:
- Pine needles (for pine needle tea)
- Mountain ash berries
- Spruce needles (for spruce tea)
- Edible clover
- Creeping Charlie
- Virginia waterleaf
Pin to save these mulberry recipes for later!
Additional mulberry recipes photo credits: maxpixel, ShenXin, byrev, Elida Cris Fagundes, unicase kirin pearlphotos
Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.