Monday, 22 August 2016

Caught Red Handed!

The Red Hand Gang
Blackberries are out everywhere now in the UK and our kids have been munching them by the handful when and wherever they spot them. We also made some rather tasty Blackberry Muffins.
Beautiful Blackberries
However, our favourites, for this time of year, are the more difficult to find, Mulberries. Many people have never even had the pleasure of tasting a Mulberry and people often ask us what we are picking when we go out hunting for them.
Marvellous Mulberries
Apparently the trees were introduced into the UK by King James, in an effort to break the grip that China had on the silk trade (silk worms eat the leaves of the White Mulberry tree) but something got lost in translation and so hundreds of Black and Red Mulberry trees were imported and planted in estates and gardens all over England. This was unfortunate for King James and the hungry silkworms but very lucky for us!

It can be difficult to harvest these juicy berries without getting coated in the sweet syrupy juice but walking home, looking as if you may have recently committed murder, is all part of the fun really.
You do need to be careful not to get the juice on your clothes and your footwear will inevitably clogged with crushed fallen fruit, so you need to be cautious on arriving home.
Picking Mulberries in a Southampton Park

A large proportion of what we pick gets eaten straight off the tree but I do manage to bring some home for baking and other experimental processes. This year my daughter helped to create a Mulberry Clafoutis (basically a giant oven-baked pancake), which made an exotic and very tasty seasonal pudding.
Mulberry Clafoutis 
I always like to steep a jar of Mulberries in gin and this produces an irresistible and very attractive ruby red liquor - the only trouble with this drink being that it tastes almost too good.
Quick, call security, someone is stealing the University's Mulberries!

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