This past week has been a baking frenzy.  Every time Rose visits, she bakes.  Although we were too late for the local strawberry season, finding out about rhubarb sure did make things better. 

We are always on the lookout for local fruits and vegetables.  Rose lives in Ireland and they are fanatical about anything grown or produced in their own country.  So whenever she visits, she reminds me about all the good things we have here in our own area.  

About a week ago, I came across a mulberry bush off Matchette Road.  It was full of beautiful, plump, black mulberries.  Funny enough, right next to the mulberry tree was a grape vine, which made me wonder if this had been cultivated land at one point.  The grapes weren’t ready for picking, but the mulberries sure were.  

In no time, I picked a container worth of the fruit and headed to my mom’s to figure out what exactly we were going to do with them.

We decided on mulberry jam.  I didn’t want to use pectin so we scoured the internet and based on a few different recipes, came up with our own.

Mulberries and sugar getting to know each other
Mulberries and sugar getting to know each other

With approximately 2 cups of mulberries, we threw them into a pot and added a cup of sugar and the juice and zest of one lemon.  I might try adding a little less sugar the next time around as the berries were very sweet and didn’t really need all that sugar.  Prior to adding the mulberries to the pot, make sure they are washed and dried.  You don’t want the excess liquid in your jam.  

Let the mixture boil for about 20-25 minutes, skimming off the frothy stuff that forms on the top.  The berries don’t break down as much as I thought they would and I might try mashing them up a bit the next time I make this jam.  While we were letting the mixture come to a boil, Rose and I noticed that it was looking a bit watery (probably from me not allowing the berries to dry).  To compensate we added a little bit of cornstarch to it, which seemed to thicken it up just a wee bit.

The 2 cups of mulberries made 1 jar.  Sterilize the jar and lid by placing them in a pot filled with water and letting it come to a boil.  

When the mulberry mixture is complete, add to the sterilized jar and close tight with lid.  The heat from the jar and the mixture will allow for a tight seal and give you that “pop” when you open the jar.

Set the jam aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

Mulberry jam on toast with butter
Mulberry jam on toast with butter

While it was still hot we decided to have a spoonful of the jam overtop ice cream for dessert. Wow.  Faaaaantastic!  Super easy to make and well worth making.  For breakfast we just spread it over a piece of buttered toast.  Mmmmmmm.

Adding a mulberry tree to the garden is now a must.