Saturday, June 19, 2010

Foraged Mulberries and Fresh Strawberries with Tarragon or Mint Recipe

“No, no. We don’t spray pesticides on the mulberry trees. We don’t want to kill anything; there’s enough dead stuff around here,” said the cemetery guard in a singy Jamaican accent, smiling at his joke, and flashing a few gold teeth. Speaking with the background soundtrack of the squawking green parrots that nest in the neo-Gothic spires of the entrance to the historic Greenwood cemetery, the guard used the back of his hand to wave me toward the weeping branches, “eat them; go on; they’re sweet. I used to eat them. Now they stain my dentures.”

Mulberries do stain. In fact, if my head’s down, I recognize these trees by their fallen fruit, and what looks like spilled ink from tiny inkwells decorating the sidewalk. Remembering that it was in Turkey, and with my father, that I first learned about mulberries, I collected a couple of handfuls and ate most of them on the spot. They stained my fingers and hands, sure, but it’s surprising that these sweet berries, less seeded than raspberries or blackberries, and less acidic, too, aren’t more popular here than they are. A folk remedy in Turkey, and used to treat colds and flu and even constipation, mulberries possess all the powerful anti-oxidants found as anthocyanins of other berries, and are also high in resveratrol, the phytonutrient found in the skin of red grapes, and purported to prevent and fight cancer, and extend the life span in mice.

Delicious and healthy, I’m devouring the season’s prevalent berries, and in addition to my foraged mulberries, I’ve been enjoying locally grown, organic strawberries in bulk. With berries like this, all you need is a bowl and a spoon, but sometimes I like to enhance their natural flavor with fresh herbs. This week, I alternated adding some mint or tarragon to the strawberries, but eating them plain has been the preferred method. For breakfast, I finished off the last of my harvested mulberries, so I think a trip later today to the cemetery may be in order. But this time, I'll bring a bowl for the harvest that will, most likely, exceed what I can carry in my two hands. Free berries, can't beat it.

Fresh Strawberries with Tarragon or Mint Recipe

one carton fresh, organic strawberries (organic is important, as most non-organic berries contain pesticide residue)

2-3 tablespoons tarragon or mint leaves (or more or less, to taste)

Combine ingredients.

What could be simpler, healthier, or more delicious? Ah, summertime.


Michelle J said...


I don't think I've ever seen a mulberry before. They look so much like a blackberry or marionberry though, that I might have and not have known them for what they were.

I'm right there with you on the berry-gorging. I am a woman obsessed! :)

Chris Ogan said...

You forgot to write about how your babaanne used to chastise you and me for not wiping our feet thoroughly when we came up her driveway walking through all of the mulberries that had dropped from the trees hanging over the drive.

Pekin Ogan said...

Banu!! You did it again!! Brought back sooo many sweet memories.. ( actually I really did not intend a pun here, but what the heck) In fact yesterday I liberated some Big Black mulberries from a tree on a side street in Turgut Reis. Of course this is in addition to the weeping mulberry trees on the walkway to our house in 90 Evler in Kadikalesi.
You recipe sounds so delicious. Enjoy and give my BIG FAT HELLO to the guard with dentures.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks said...

Thanks for the informative post on mulberries. Great visuals and I can't wait to try. Will be on the lookout for them. (I might have eaten before but assumed they were blackberries.)

Lou said...

Mulberries are the BEST ever aren't they? Difficult to pick as they explode in your hand....

Delicious recipe as usual.

I've ordered a mulberry tree to go 'pride of place' in our new cider orchard. The trees will arrive in November, so exciting.

Tau-Mu said...

Another fun post HB! Perhaps you can mix the mulberries and strawberries together. Wow, you hit 1000 followers of this blog (not that anyone is counting)!

natural selection said...

“With patience, mulberry leaves become satin.”

-A Turkish Proverb

Beautiful photo and I'm all about free range berry pickin!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Aah ha, so thats the difference between blackberries and mulberries. Fantastic. Thanks for the lesson, I recently foraged berries and loved the thrill of picking my food

Chef E said...

ha ha! Did you tell him they make denture cream for that, lol, what a great story and again, great food- Take him a tube of Efferdent!

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