“I once knew an old lady who lived by herself in the Golfen valley of Herefordshire. She was one of the happiest old women I have met. She described to me all the work she and her mother used to do when she was a child: washing on Monday, butter-making on Tuesday, market on Wednesday, and so on. “It all sounds like a lot of hard work,” I said to her. “Yes, but nobody ever told us then,” she said in her Herefordshire accent. “Told you what?” “Told us there was anything wrong with work!”
Jam made with honey brings out the flavour of the fruit, and tastes better than jam made with refined cane sugar. It keeps well too.
I don’t think there’s anything that gives a feeling of abundance more than fruit trees. To watch the tree first awaken in early spring, the incomparable colour of soft green buds, and then the fragile pastel flowers bursting into life, covering the tree in the archetypal colours of springtime. We moved onto this rental property in winter, when the trees stood bare and skeleton-like in the frosted landscape. We had no idea of what would happen to these trees in springtime. Now that it’s summer and they’re in fruit, it feels like such a blessing to have seen this unfold over the seasons, it makes me wish I had planted fruit trees at the houses we’d rented in the past, for other people to be able to appreciate in this way after we’d gone.
This mulberry tree had a different way of coming to life than the other fruit trees around here. When the other trees were covered in blossoms, the mulberry tree was still leafless, very late in spring we noticed some leaves forming, and then soon after, the berries appearing. We watched as they grew and changed colour, beginning to eat the very first ones that we thought were ripe enough. Now as the leafy canopy protects us from the harsh summer sun, we pick them at their blackest, when they are at their height of sweetness and juice.
Mulberries are full of ripe fruit for several months of the year. They’re a good tree to have wherever chickens are roaming, because they will constantly drop delicious and nourishing fruit on the ground for chooks to eat. They’re a good tree to have around children, as they provide both low hanging fruit, and branches at a decent height for climbing, to reach higher fruit.
The leaves from the mulberry tree are good to have for larger livestock, the leaves are a natural way to rid animals of worms, and you can either bring a few leaves to the paddock for the animals to eat, or plant trees around the place for the animals to harvest themselves.
Mulberries will also grow from cuttings. I haven’t tried this myself but plan on taking some before we move. Linda Woodrow recommends using water with willows steeped in it, to help the cuttings grow roots.
Here are some of my mulberry recipes:
Mulberries with Créme Fraiche, Honey, and Paleo Granola: Put mulberries in a bowl, top with around half this amount of créme fraîche, drizzle with a teaspoon or two of raw honey and sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of paleo granola or chopped nuts.
Raw milk is an important food to my family, so much so that we don’t mind buying all of our goats’ feed in while living in suburban sized blocks with no grazing land. To make the most of this precious milk, and to make sure that there’s no chance of us getting sick, I am careful about having a milking routine that minimises the chances of the milk getting contaminated.
This is what I do: