Wherever you see several old mulberry trees standing together in the Middle East, you can be sure that they are descendants of trees once cultivated to provide fodder for silkworms. And although the leaves have medicinal properties that humans can also enjoy, we two-legged folks are more likely to feast on the fruit.
Chutney and jam are two easy ways to preserve mulberries for eating later. The season is short, just a few weeks at the end of April-beginning of May, so if a tree or two grows near you, now’s the time to go foraging.
This chutney is chunky in texture and a little sweeter than most.
2 cups fresh, ripe mulberries
1 small onion
1 small green apple, grated with the peel on
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1. Put the mulberries and the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
2. Add all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring often.
3. Allow the chutney to boil till it forms a thick jam, about 20 minutes. Stir often.
4. Pack the chutney into a glass jar. Allow to cool, covered. Refrigerate. Wait a week for the flavors to marry. Eat soon afterwards.
If you prefer to make jam, leave out the onion, vinegar, garlic, and salt. Add three leaves of fragrant, edible rose or lemon geranium for a real Middle-Eastern flavored jam.
Photo of mulberry chutney: Miriam Kresh; Top image via mauroguanandi
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