Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mulberry Preserves


I have used mulberries in muffins and pancakes for many years. The tree in our yard produces lots of tasty fruit. However, it wasn't until I saw a blog entry by a woman from Detroit about her quest for berries and her desire to make mulberry jam that I decided to make my own. Besides, I didn't have to go any further than my own backyard for berries! How nice is that.

Our mulberry tree brings lots of beautiful birds to our yard. We also get to enjoy deer, turkey, skunk, woodchucks, chipmunks, rabbits and the occasional coyote looking for a tasty snack. As you might guess this means lots of animal poo in the yard and bird poo on the house and deck. "I'm going to cut that tree down. It makes a mess." my husband used to say...every year around the same time. My only comment was, "Why would you cut something down that gives you food?"  I am happy to report that my husband's disgust with this tree is now gone forever with his first taste of mulberry jam! The tree is here to stay as is the menagerie of wildlife it brings with it. So without further delay....

Here's the recipe, instructions and photos for mulberry preserves using honey, a small amount of sugar and Pomona's Universal Pectin.

RECIPE
  • 4 Cups Clean, Milled Mulberries (You'll need 2 quarts)
  • 1 Cup of Honey
  • 1/2 Cup of Turbinado Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  •  3 Tsp. Pectin Powder
  • 3 Tsp. Calcium Water*
  • Clean/Prepare 5 - 8 ounce Jelly Jars or 10 - 4 ounce Jars
*Per the instructions make the Calcium water first. You can refrigerate it and use it all summer for various types of preserves and jams.

DIRECTIONS:
  • Measure honey and/or sugar add Pectin Powder, mix well, set aside. In my opinion the pectin dissolves best if mixed into the honey.
  • Wash the berries and run them through a food-mill using the medium grate. You can try de-stemming by hand but the berries are very soft and it is quite messy. Using the medium grate will allow a few seeds to come through, but that's OK. Mulberry seeds have a nice crunch and are not annoying like raspberry seeds!
  • Place in a large stainless steel or enamel pot
  • Add the Lemon Juice and Calcium Water, stir well
  • Bring to a boil
  • Vigorously stir in the honey/pectin mixture and/or sugar/pectin mixture
  • Boil gently stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes to dissolve pectin
  • Remove from heat
  • Remove a spoonful, cool and taste for desired sweetness. Remember fruit flavor and sweetness will change from year to year and even between batches.
  • If necessary add additional honey or sugar and boil a little more to dissolve
  • Fill jars, add lids and rings and process for ten minutes (Click for details)
Photos with recipe notes shown below. 

 

Find the berries and pick them! I am lucky enough to have a tree in my backyard. Look how dark and beautiful they are!

Wash the mulberries and run them through the food mill using the medium sized grate.



This is how the berries will look after you run them through the food mill.



Put the berries, lemon juice and calcium water into a stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil. Vigorously stir in the honey/pectin mixture and/or sugar/pectin mixture. Boil gently stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes to dissolve pectin.


Fill the jars, add lids and rings and.... 


....give them a boiling hot water bath for 10 minutes! Remove jars to a towel. Let cool. Do not disturb for 12-24 hours. Then check seals and firm up the rings. Store in pantry. Once opened lasts 3-4 weeks.

A couple notes about Mulberry Preserves:

Mulberries are very juicy and low in natural pectin and I have found it necessary to use more calcium water and pectin than the recipe in Pomona's Pectin calls for. Even after doing so, it is still sometimes a bit runny. If you refrigerate it, this takes care of the problem and it gels very nicely.

I hope you can find a Mulberry Tree, harvest yourself a couple quarts and have fun making this jam. Mulberries have a surprisingly light and fresh taste. There are still a few trees yielding fruit here in Michigan at the time of this posting so it's not too late! Get out there, pick some fruit and have fun!

Please feel free to post any questions you may have. I'll do my best to answer.
Thanks for following along.
Trish

5 comments:

  1. I successfully made mulberry jam and had no problems using the food strainer. I also tried to make cherry jam with cherries from a friend's Nanking cherry bush. The pits were too small to use my cherry pitter on and too large to go through my food strainer (Squeezo model bought at a thrift store for $30). My dilemma is knowing whether the grape spiral available on other food strainers would allow the pit through or not. I would gladly purchase one if it would do the job, but I don't want to end up with 2 strainers and neither able to strain bush cherries. Any thoughts? THANKS!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Ellen -

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    I have a feeling one of the three strainer sizes available with my unit would work for your bush cherries. I don't know if we have this type of cherry in Michigan, but I'm guessing the pits would be larger than those found in Concord Grapes.

    I found my unit at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Since you're familiar with the size of the pits, I would recommend opening the box at the store and checking the various strainers included. A quick visual check should answer your question.

    Thanks again for visiting my blog. I hope this helps a little!
    Trish

    ReplyDelete
  3. PS Congrats on your successful jam adventures :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. What is the recipe for Calcium water? Please respond to my gmail as I see this is an earlier blog. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Judith -

    The calcium water powder comes with the Pomona's Pectin. The pectin is also included and they work together. The ratio of water to calcium powder instructions are included in the box.

    Sorry, but I don't have (or know how to find) your g-mail address. It didn't show up on your profile. Hope you get this.

    Trish

    ReplyDelete

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