Mulberries come in two basic forms – red mulberries, whose berries are purple when ripe, and white mulberries, whose berries are a translucent white. But the trees hybridize easily, so “ripe” for one tree may mean rosy-purple berries and for another, near-black.
You can easily spot the trees right now by their skirt of dropped berries on the ground around the trunk — or by flocks of birds feasting on the sweet fruit.
A bit on the bland side, mulberries may need brightening with lemon juice if used in baking. If you want to get a lot, lay a tarp or sheet on the ground beneath the tree and tap the branches with a stick. Otherwise, pick a few here and there as you pass by. – Amber Veverka
More on mulberries:
- In Charlotte, mulberries grow in Latta and Freedom parks, but they’re also plentiful in unkempt parking-lot edges or damp woodlands.
- Unripe berries are hard and sour and, according to the Peterson Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, contain hallucinogens.
- Interested in making wild mulberry jam? Check out the recipe and technique at PickYourOwn.org.