Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mulberry season!

Perth is a tough place to grow food. However, there are a few exceptions - sweet potato, olives and most fun of all, mulberries. Here in our suburb, there are several cracker mulberry trees right on the verge. Great big trees, great for climbing and getting mulberry stains on your school uniform. 

Luckily we often ride to school and we have been watching the fruit on our favorite tree getting plumper and darker over the last week or so. And now they are ready to pick!

We picked enough to take some home and put in a pie. Funny thing was we collected them in an unused doggy poo bag. That freaked me out a bit because from the outside of the bag it looked like we were the very responsible owner of some kind of massive great dane. 

Anyway, once home we whipped up this yummy pie: 
  • Short crust pastry: half a cup plain spelt flour/half a cup wholemeal flour or what every flour you prefer, a few tablespoonish scoops of butter. Rubbed in to the flour, add a tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt, add a little dash of water and a little dash of milk and combine with a butter knife. Not sure why we always use a butter knife to mix it, but my Granny said this was essential. Who am I to question her wisdom?
  • Mulberry mix: chuck in a good few handfuls of mulberries (no need to destalk), a peeled and grated granny (fruit, not the Grandparent), and a tablespoon of brown sugar - no water as the berries are full of juice. Let it reduce a bit. 
  • Roll out the pastry, put it in a greased pie dish and pour in the mulberry mix and bake, 180 degrees for 20 mins or so.
Vola! Great with whipped cream!

I just love making use of food that would otherwise go to waste. Mulberries are so sweet and fragile, they only last on the tree a day or two before they drop and are ruined. So while they are in season its great to take advantage of them. You can munch them straight from the tree or you can juice them. We also freeze them in containers to keep us going between seasons. People often ask how they can get berries plastic free - well this is the answer for Perth peeps! They are great on ice cream or in smoothies after they have been frozen. You can also make mulberry jam - but be warned they are very low in pectin so you will need to add heaps of lemon juice (which can effect the flavour) or add commercial jamsetta. 

Go forth with your doggy poo bag and enjoy the bonanza!

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