Two species of mulberries can be found in Illinois—the red mulberry (Morus rubra), a native species, and the white mulberry (M. alba), which is native to Asia and has become naturalized throughout much of the United States. Fruits of both are edible, and are ripe when they reach their namesake color—red on the red mulberry and white on the white variety. A medium-sized trees growing to a height of 50-70 feet, mulberries can be found in forests, along roads and in disturbed areas, as well in some park and residential areas.
In mid-summer, collecting the sweet, juicy fruits becomes a favorite pastime for those interested in making a pie or jam. Here’s a quick and easy jam recipe.
3 cups crushed mulberries
½ cup lemon juice
1 package (1.75 ounces) powdered pectin
6 cups sugar
Bring berries, lemon juice and pectin to a rolling boil. Add sugar. Return to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Skim off foam. Ladle into prepared jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.
Deb Singer is an admininstrative assistant in the Director's office.