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Monday, June 5, 2017

Mulberry and Lime Jam

Our drought-busting winter has borne many sweet fruits. It is hard to believe how lively things can feel with green grasses left on the hills and moisture remaining in the air. This is June and I have seen bogs and ponds in the Bay Area and wild flowers remaining in the valley. Everything (including me) feels refreshed and ready to engage in enthusiastic growth. This wonderment of water has resulted in lots of big, juicy mulberries.

Mulberries used in landscapes are usually fruitless. I get this. These berries are loved by birds and other wildlife and lead to masses of purple poo. In fact, my father-in-law drove me around in a golf cart to pick the berries you see here. I used to go out with an old sheet, plastic bags over my feet and covered from head to foot to pick these. We would shake the tree and let them fall into the open sheet. This is still a fast way to get lots picked, but we chose for tidy rather than quick. Even so, I got one stuck in one of the treads in my sneakers and made quite a mess before I got it all out.

 Mulberries have a unique flavor and aroma. The seeds are small and crunchy, rather like fig seeds. They are sweet and not acidic, so additional acid must be added to make them safe for canning. I decided to use lime as a companion flavor and acidifier. There are no directions for using mulberries on the low sugar Sure Jell direction sheet, so I loosely followed the directions for blackberries, which these resemble. However, when I mashed them, they did not release very much juice, so I added 1 cup of water along with 1 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice.

So, aside from the purple-poo-stain factor, these berries have one other problem - tiny stems that cling with a bond much stronger than the berries themselves. When they break away from the tree, the little stems remain attached. I have found that if I try to pluck the stems off, I just end up with a hand full of crushed fruit. So, today, I sat and listened to an audio book and snipped them off with a pair of scissors. It's well worth the effort.

Sunday Jam = Monday Toast

Mulberry & Lime Jam
4 cups stemmed and crushed mulberries
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup water
4 cups sugar
1 package of reduced sugar Sure Jell

Prepare 8 jars, lids and rings and the boiling water bath.

Combine the fruit, lime juice and water in a large pot. Combine 1/4 cup of sugar out of the four cups sugar and mix it with the pectin powder. Stir into the fruit and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the remaining sugar and return to a boil. Boil for one minute and remove from heat. The Sure Jell packet directs that the mixture be brought to a full rolling boil - one that cannot be stirred down. I found that this jam thickened quickly and brought it to a simple boil and boiled for one minute. The set is perfect.

Skim and foam. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars. Wipe rims and top with lids and rings. Tighten just to finger tightness and process in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Carefully remove to a towel-lined tray to cool. Let stand overnight. Wipe the jars of any remaining moisture and label.

Makes 7 1/2 Half-Pint jars

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! We also have a black mulberry tree, but it must have bloomed at the wrong time, as we aren't getting the abundance you have. I've used them as part of my Triple Berry Jam when I've had enough - with blueberries & blackberries or with raspberries & blueberries. It really does add its own special flavor.
    (As well a a crunch where I've missed a stem! Lol!)