Monday, June 22, 2009

My Mother's Mulberry Jam Recipe

The mulberries are getting ripe.

Several readers will probably disagree with me, but I have never been able to relate to people who consider mulberry trees to be nothing more than nuisances. The main complaint seems to be that they lead to purple bird poop on your windshield. I have asked why purple poop is worse than white poop. After all, the birds are going to poop on your car regardless of whether or not they have been eating mulberries. The answer that I get is usually something to the effect of, "It just is."

It seems to me that not enough people have tried my mother's mulberry jam. Perhaps a nice warm biscuit with mulberry jam on it would convince some people that mulberry trees have their advantages too.

My mother taught me to collect the berries by laying old sheets on the ground and shaking the tree. This doesn't work in the case of a wild tree that is not mowed underneath. That is OK, because I have easily picked enough berries for a batch of jam just from the lower branches of a large tree.

By the way, I have never understood why the children's nursery rhyme says, "here we go around the mulberry bush." After all, mulberries don't grow on bushes, they grow on trees.

I have always eaten mulberries stem and all.The first time I came across a mulberry jam recipe that was printed in a published cookbook(the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving), I was surprised to see that it said to stem the berries. It seems to me that taking the time to cut the stems off from all the berries would be far more bother than it is worth.

My Mother's Mulberry Jam Recipe

My mother's recipe relies on the natural pectin in the fruit. Mulberries are not particularly high in natural pectin, so you want to include some berries that still have a bit of a pinkish tinge to them

Wash, crush, and measure berries. For each cup of berries add 1 cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice. You may also add an optional 1/2 teaspoon of ginger. Cook to 220°F. Fill hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and process for 10 minutes in a water bath.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

Charlotte's Mulberry Jam Recipe
Yield is about 5 half-pint jars.

In case you like the shorter cooking time of jam with added pectin, I also will print my mulberry jam recipe. In order to get it to set, I had to increase the sugar, and lemon juice. When I decided that I wanted to convert my mothers recipe into one that uses added pectin, it was the first time that I tried experimenting with a jam recipe. It took me several tries to get it to work.

4 cups mulberries
1/2 cup lemon juice
6 cups sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin

Combine berries and lemon juice and sugar. Bring to rolling boil over high heat. Add pectin and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam, if necessary. Fill hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and process 10 minutes in a water bath.

See high altitude instructions above.


  1. Wow.. That looks so delicious and just love the color :)

  2. I have never had a mulberry or a jam, but I know I would love it.

    LOL about the purple bird poop. We have similar issues with chokecherries hahahahaha!

  3. They look really delicious and pleasant. Wish mulberries were not so expensive....sighs..

  4. I found it interesting to learn that you can buy mulberries in Germany. I have never seen them for sale here. I just head to the creek and start picking.

  5. That's funny about the purple bird poop!

    I haven't tried Mulberrry Jam but the other day I received a gift of 2 jars of Olallieberry Jam from my bloggy friend Suzi. It was really great!

    Have you made Olallieberry Jam?

  6. When somebody mentioned Olallieberries to me, I had to look them up on the internet to find out what they are. They sure sounded fun to try, but right now I don't even know how to get some.

  7. I love mulberries, but I think I'm one of the few people here in Pittsburgh who knows you can eat them. I'd always stop and pick some as a snack whenever I'd walk past a mulberry tree, and would often get strange looks from anyone who saw me eating the berries. My sister and I once waited until after dark to raid a mulberry tree growing up the street from us. (Not sure why we thought we needed the cover of darkness--it's pretty unlikely anyone would have cared about us "stealing" something they just let drop to the sidewalk!) Thanks for the wonderful recipe! We also have white mulberries here--a bit more delicate-flavored than the purple, and won't stain your fingers.

  8. Thanks for the picking tip. We thought while picking buckets of mulberries today that there was probably a better way. Next year we will know. Thanks also for the leave the stem on tip. We also eat them stem and all and wondered why anyone would take the time to pick them off.

  9. I hae had the WORST craving for Mulberries this year and I haven't had the jam in over 20 years. I grew up in Michigan and we used to have a huge old tree up just outside of the woods that had such a huge crop of them. We'c go up and lay out tarps and plastic sheets under the tree, let them all drop into the plastic and then have someone climb the tree and jump on the branches to shake more of them down. Then we'd pull the plastic sheets and we'd take them home where we'd pick through them for DAYS!!! We'd have purple hands by the time we were done. But Mom would make mulberry jam and mulberry pie . . . sooooo yummy! Out here in CO the trees I've seen don't get big enough to have much of a yield because the birds get to them first. However, I did run into a lady at a local farmer's market who I found out apprently has 3 great big white mulberry trees (ours were the dark red ones) and she was floored when I told her about the jam and pies. "I didn't know you could do anything with them." It's a fruit lady! You can do just about anything with a fruit! So I'm going to go get some next year because I'm craving the jam like nothing else. Mom never had a "Mulberry Jam" recipe but I know she used to use another berry recipe for it. From what you have it's the recipe for Blueberry tho I think she ever put lemon juice in it that I know of. Thanks for posting it.

  10. Here in Australia we are just starting to pick our mulberrys .It's almost christmas and our tree is full of ripe lusious berries...mine are dark purple and have a lovely flavour, raw or in jam....and mulberry syrup is even better....served warm over icecream there is nothing better....made a runny batch of jam one year and used it as syrup now i have to make it that way on purpose to satisfie the grandkids...

  11. I have a Mulberry Tree that I have grown from a youngster. I want to make jam and syrup, but do I have to use so much sugar?

  12. I couldn't get my mulberries to cook to 220 degrees - the highest I got was 216. I finally gave up cooking them after 25-30 minutes and it seemed to set just fine. I live at nearly sea level, so it isn't an altitude problem.

  13. Mulberries are reportedly high anti-oxidants which will protect you from things like macular degeneration, cancer, stroke:

    in fact my understanding is that the stems have the most resveratrol, so don't remove them!

  14. The reason a mulberry is called a 'bush' is because it naturally spreads by layering = it drops branches weighted with fruit to the ground and then the branches form rootlets and a new stem is created. This ground-hugging way of growing is why its called a mulberry bush. At least that's true of the black mulberry we have in the United Kingdom - the one in our garden was brought to Hastings by David Garrick, the famous Shakespearian actor, in the late 1700s, from a cutting from the mulberry in Shakespeare's garden in Stratford on Avon. It stretches 50 feet in every direction and has lots of spurs - we have to keep cutting it back.

  15. I have just spent 2 hours filling 6 buckets with mulberries from our one lonsome tree (in a rental house too!). I am about to attemp jam for the first time, as well as make my grandmothers mulberry pie and my favourite her homemade mulberry ice-cream!!!
    YUM. I told my Grade 1 class what I was doing this weekend and they all asked what a mulberry was???? I must admit I have not seen many trees around emerald (Central QLD, Aust) so I will be taking 3 bucket of berries into work with me monday so the kids can try them fresh, as well as make some ice-cream to try and take around to other teachers (final week of term is always a bit of a cooking competition between teachers).

  16. to remove mulberry stains from fingers squash a couple of green mulberries and rub the juice on the stains. works like magic.

  17. Actually I have two mulberry bushes in my garden - started them from cuttings - as David Garrick did all that time ago - and I've just kept them pruned down to where I can reach them - my grand daughter loves dancing round them and singing

  18. Oh, and you can get a good set with less sugar if you simply make smaller batches. I use equal quantities of slightly underripe berries, no lemon juice and sugar and it sets in three minutes. If I use three parts slightly underripe barries to two parts sugar takes about five minutes


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