Edible Wild Plants – Wild Mulberries
DISCLAIMER: Don’t believe anything I or any body else tells you about edible wild plants. Don’t eat edible wild plants based on what you see in a book or on the inter-net. Get a qualified instructor to show you the plants, and don’t eat them until the instructor shows you how to prepare them, and then eats them him or herself. Be aware that you may be allergic to a plant that someone else can eat without harm. Be sure that any plants that you gather have not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.
The wild mulberry tree (Morus rubra) grows throughout much of the eastern half of Texas. It gets to be a pretty good size tree sometimes growing as much as fifty feet tall. Pictured below: Young mulberry tree.
The mulberry has two different shapes of leaves. One is palm shaped, and the other is three lobed. Both are shiny on the top and dull on the bottom, and both have small jagged teeth on the outer margin of the leaf. Pictured below: Two different types of mulberry leaves.
The young bark of the mulberry is fairly smooth and green. The older bark becomes darker and more deeply ridged. Pictured below: top, young bark; bottom, older bark.
Of course the part we are interested in is the fruit. Please be aware that there are male mulberry trees and female mulberry trees, and only the female trees bare fruit. The young fruits appear in early spring and are green. Pictured below: Green mulberries.
As the fruits ripen they turn first red and then purple. The ripe fruits are about an inch long, and the tree will generally be loaded with them. All of the berries do not ripen at once, so you will have access to good berries for several weeks. Pictured below: Ripe mulberries.
When picking mulberries be warned, they will stain your hands and any clothing they come into contact with. Pictured below: Handful of juicy ripe mulberries.
Mulberries taste great raw. I have also used them to make cobbler and pancake syrup. If you pick a lot of mulberries you can freeze them for later use.