Mulberries are only in season for a few weeks in late spring and early summer. The fruit is used to make pies and tarts, as well as wines and cordials. But because of the berry's brief season, we can only enjoy their slightly tart and refreshing taste for a short amount of time—unless we can preserve them for later use. Freezing is the easiest way to preserve mulberries, and whether you use fresh or frozen mulberries, the results will be delicious.
Mulberries almost always come off of the tree with a little bit of stem attached. You can leave on the stem—it will not affect the berry—or, you can take the time to remove the stem bits before freezing. No matter, follow a few steps to ensure your mulberries are easy to use when needed.
Wash the Mulberries
Before placing in the freezer, you need to wash the mulberries; washing removes bacteria that could be lurking on the berries, such as salmonella, E. coli, or norovirus. Run the berries under cool water and let them drain for a few minutes in a colander.
Freezing the berries in a single layer will ensure that the berries will remain separate once they are frozen. Spread the whole, washed mulberries in a single layer on a baking sheet or on plates. Freeze the fruit, uncovered, for at least 2 hours.
Transfer to Freezer Containers
Once the berries are frozen, you can transfer them to freezer bags or containers. (It is recommended that you use BPA-free, non-plastic freezer containers.) Make sure to label and date the bags or containers; you can store mulberries in the freezer for up to 6 months. They are still fine to eat after that, but their quality and flavor degrade over time.
Ways to Use Frozen Mulberries
There are many ways you can use the frozen mulberries, from smoothies to baked goods to jam. You can blend straight-out-of-the-freezer mulberries with milk (or a non-dairy alternative), yogurt, and honey or another sweetener of your choice. The frozen berries will give the smoothie a thick, cold, milkshake-like texture.
You can also add still-frozen mulberries to pancakes, muffins, and quick bread. Although the mulberries will cook along with the rest of the ingredients, berries that start out frozen in these recipes will not bleed their color as much as fresh berries tend to do.
Frozen mulberries are just as good as fresh for making mulberry jam and other sweet preserve recipes. Stockpile them in the freezer during the harvest season, and get around to that jam project later when you have time.
Using Thawed Mulberries
You can use the frozen mulberries to make sorbet or ice cream, but you will need to thaw them before you transform them into a frozen dessert. You can also thaw frozen mulberries and puree them to make a simple, flavorful sauce to spoon over yogurt, cake, or fresh fruit. If you think the sauce needs it, add a little honey or sugar and a small squeeze of lemon juice to intensify the mulberry flavor.
A 3 1/2-ounce serving of raw mulberries has 43 calories, can provide up to 44 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, and 14 percent of your iron needs. The fruit and leaves are sold in various forms as nutritional supplements. The mature plant contains significant amounts of resveratrol, particularly in the stem bark, which some speculate can lead to longevity.