The love for berries has been well-known since ancient times. A far-flung lovely history, the word berry comes from the older English word ‘berie’, meaning grape. Scientifically, the berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single flower containing only one ovary. Among many super succulent berries on earth, one of the oldest that human has relished for the longest time is the magical multi-coloured mulberry. Tangy, sweet, and sometimes a tad bit sour, it is a fruit of the mulberry tree that goes by the scientific name Morus alba. A perennial plant that grows up to 40 feet, it bears beautiful pink flowers and slender fruits. A distant cousin of figs, mulberries are available from March to May and from October through November.
While humans relish this fabulous fruit, do we know the leaves of this plant are an all-time favourite of silkworms? The only food and source of nutrition for this valuable insect that provides tons and tons of silk to us, it predominately feeds on leaves of mulberry. The white mulberry is native to China, where for thousands of years it was cultivated for humans and for silkworms too! Presently, the fruit is grown extensively in Asia and America. In India, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Harayana, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, are the main mulberry-growing states.
How Mulberries Can Be Used?
Traditional medicine recognised mulberries for curing many health conditions. Considered healthy for your kidneys, lungs, hair and skin, they are used to make tonics and health drinks. Mulberry tea is laden with therapeutic properties and is relished all over the world. When it comes to culinary benefits, the fruits can be used in making jams, jellies, cookies, teas, and wines.
Types Of Mulberries
Primarily there are three types of mulberries that can be eaten or used in many forms. The pearly white or little brownish ones are called white for their colour of buds. Also known as Morus Alba, they are food for silkworms and a Chinese native. The second one is the red mulberry. Also called Morus Rubra in botanical terminology, red and as well as white mulberries are easy to graft and harsh weather resistant as compared to the black ones. The most difficult to grow is the third type which is the black variety which goes by the scientific name of Morus Nigra. Native to Asian countries, they are the most popular among all three.
Mulberry Health Benefits
Mulberries are known for their excellent nutritional value and numerous health benefits. Some of them are:
- Renal health is essential to remove toxic wastes from the body. Mulberry extracts are beneficial for those suffering from kidney ailments or metabolic disorders. It improves insulin resistance and reduces oxidative stress
- Mulberry aids melanin production and aids hair growth besides reducing premature greying of the manes. For strong lustrous hair, mulberry juice may be consumed regularly
- Resveratrol found in mulberries protects the skin from ultraviolet rays, brightens the skin, and cures hyperpigmentation. Mulberry also has Vitamin A, C, and E which are potential anti-ageing agents and reduce dark spots and wrinkles
- Laden with antiviral and antibacterial properties, mulberries inhibit harmful pathogens from the body such as influenza viruses and the pneumococci
- Black mulberries are loaded with a fibre called pectin- a laxative that aids smooth bowel movements and cures severe constipation
- Mulberries contain a carotenoid called zeaxanthin which can prevent retinal damage that could be the cause of macular degeneration and cataract
- A potent immunity booster, mulberry is a great source of Vitamin C. It also contains polyphenols that aid in promoting a healthy immune system
- Mulberry has significant amounts of Vitamin K, calcium, and iron that help in strengthening bone tissues. These powerful nutrients also reduce the chances of osteoporosis and arthritis, besides other degenerative disorders
Ways To Relish Mulberries
Whether you pop them right away or add them to baking, make a jam, use in mocktails, churn them into ice cream or throw them into a cereal bowl, there is no dearth of fun you can have with this tiny little fruit. To make it more innovative, we bring you two super easy recipes for this soft, succulent, and yummy fruit.
Mulberry Iced Tea
4 green tea bags
1 cup fresh mulberry (syrup can be used if fresh ones are not available)
4 cups water
Few fresh mint leaves
Sugar to taste
Add berries into a food processor and run it for a few seconds until they are fully squashed
Stir the pulp, strain it and get all the juice out. Keep aside
Boil 4 cups of water
Steep the green tea into a large cup
Steep mint leaves into the tea
Add the fresh mulberry juice and sugar to taste
Squeeze the lemon and serve chilled
Mulberry the key ingredient of this recipe provides sodium, potassium, carbohydrates, and other vital nutrients. Potassium helps to keep blood pressure in check. Green tea helps to rejuvenate the body and trigger the immune system.
Mulberry Lavender Jam with Honey
Half kg black mulberries
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup honey
5 fresh lavender buds
Juice of 1 lemon
Wash the mulberries, remove the stems and shift them to a pot
Add honey, brown sugar, and lavender buds to the pot
Let it all stay until a liquid is released
Bring to boil
Simmer for fifteen minutes until a thick consistency develops
Add the lemon juice
Remove from the heat, let it cool down
Store in a neat and dry glass jar
Mulberry honey jam is ready
The jam is replete with taste and nutrition. Black mulberries contain Vitamin C which boosts the immune system. Honey has numerous antioxidant properties, fights free radicals, and reduces the effects of oxidative damage to the body.