News From Terre Haute, Indiana


June 25, 2014

Readers’ Forum: June 26, 2014

Misunderstandings about the lovely, messy mulberry

We’re about half way through mulberry season. Many years ago I had a huge mulberry tree outside my house, dropping black messy berries for about a month onto the sidewalk. I didn’t know what they were — and didn’t think to eat them. Even though they looked like blackberries, I had been told they weren’t edible — after all, they grow on trees, not bushes.

I now have a lovely mulberry tree in my backyard, dropping the same berries — and I collect and savor them every morning and evening. Somehow I found out that they are indeed edible — and flavorful.

But most people I know still avoid eating them, complaining about the mess perhaps, but not taking advantage of this free, fun and flavorful fruit.

Mulberries are also really healthy for you. They are very high in multiple nutrients and easily digestible. Three downsides: The little tiny stems are almost impossible to remove — so I just think of them as providing some healthy fiber.

Second, once ripe, they only last for a day or two.

And third, because they grow on branches that are often out of reach, the easiest way to collect them is off the ground. So you have to get to them before the ants do — and not be too squeamish about doing so.

Finally, trees do differ — I have three right next to each other. One provides almost inch long, sweet very tasty berries; another provides small, sweet but less flavorful ones; and those on the third tree aren’t really worth collecting.  

Yes, those lovely, messy black berries that fall from that tree in your backyard, or make a mess on your sidewalk are edible — and there is another week or two to find out how good they are.

— Jean L. Kristeller, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Department of Psychology

Senior Research Scientist

Indiana State University

Terre Haute

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