Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Mulberry Bush Fruit

Mulberries are now in season and we have recently tasted both white and red. White mulberries are very sweet and have a honeyish taste whilst the red are less sweet and taste something between a raspberry and blackberry. Once picked the fruit does not keep very well and is best used within a couple of days.

We have planted two mulberries which have yet to fruit. One was a very small tree which was growing in the same pot as a purchased plum tree. After three years it has reached a good size and will hopefully fruit next year. The other was dug up from a stream bed and it larger but to our disappointment we now suspect it's a male tree which will never fruit. We are considering whether to graft a female onto it or dig it up and replace with a fruiting mulberry.

Mulberries are quite drought tolerant, will grow in most soils and enjoy a position with full sun. Other than providing some fertilizer during the winter and mulching in the spring, mulberries require very little care and are not bothered by many pests or diseases. Pruning is only required to retain a desired shape and to remove any damaged wood and this should be carried out in mid-winter.

Mulberry fruit not only tastes good, it's nutritionally an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and is also useful for baking, juicing and makes a lovely jam. Mulberries can be sun dried and used instead of raisins when baking muffins or cakes.

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