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Mulberry Picking!

You can enjoy them atop porridge, muddle them in cocktails, make delicious jams, coulis and cakes and add them to your morning fruit shake. Mulberries are my new favourite fruit! Apart from strawberries, fresh berries are not all that common in the Jamaica, so I am very happy to see Mulberry trees becoming more popular. A few years ago my friend and fellow organic farmer, Dorienne Rowan Campbell very kindly gave me a couple slips from her farm (thank you Dorienne!) The trees are now about five years old. They started bearing in the second year and each year we would wrestle a measly handful from the birds! This year, we are delighted that both trees are laden with fruit.

‘Morus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Moraceae, consisting of a diverse species of deciduous trees commonly known as Mulberries’ (thank you Wikipedia). Three common types are the White Mulberry used primarily as a food crop for silkworms. The unripe fruit of the White Mulberry is toxic to humans. There is also the Red Mulberry though we hear much more about the gorgeous red-black Black mulberry, happily, the variety we have growing, and apparently the tastiest of the Mulberry fruits. It is a medium sized old-fashioned looking tree which grows to about 30 feet. The leggy, woody, branching pattern and the dense leaf coverage make it an excellent shade tree. It is easy to grow, seems to tolerate most soils and requires very little care. It is a useful tree to have on an organic farm as it attracts birds and insects including beneficials like ladybugs. We welcome these little helpers as they assist with pest management by devouring quantities of the aphid population. The large serrated edged leaves provide the perfect receptacle for impromptu picking and transporting from tree to kitchen.

When ripe, the Black Mulberry fruits are plump and incredibly juicy. Just picking a few will guarantee purple juice stained fingers! The fruit are soft and extremely perishable so it is a good idea to pick and enjoy or freeze them as soon as they are picked. This year we are picking so many, I couldn’t wait to try them in the Raw ‘Cheese’ Cake recipe in My Goodness! Greens cookbook. You may very well ask what could a dessert recipe be doing in a book about greens! Well the truth is that although My Goodness! Greens features mainly salads and green meals, the wonderful connection

between garden and kitchen is woven throughout. There a whole chapter devoted to growing your very own organic garden! So this wholesome sweet treat, though unexpected, fits right in with the Grow Gather Cook Create Eat theme. And because every good meal deserves a sweet ending! This dessert will not leave you missing butter, flour, refined sugar, eggs and cheese! And it requires zero baking! Instead we use our nut ball recipe for the crust and the creamiest cashew cream for the ‘cheese’, a couple more unexpected finds in the book, and gorgeous fresh fruit, this time mulberries, for the top. Even Paul, my husband with the very sweet tooth, loves this raw ‘cheese’ cake and says it left him pleasantly satisfied! I’ll take it!

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