"Of all fruits cultivated in America, I think that none have so meagre a literature as the mulberries."
L.H. Bailey, Cornell University Agriculture Experiment Station, 1892
Why grow mulberries?
Mulberries are one of the easiest fruit trees to grow, requiring little if any, fertilization or chemicals. They are generally very fast growing, with many cultivars producing fruit the very next year after planting. Unlike most berry plants (its fruit is actually fleshy multiples of drupes), it is easy to harvest large quantities of fruit with little effort; even in spite of all the birds and animals that enjoy its bounty, there will still be plenty left for you. Gardening gurus John Kohler and David Goodman list mulberries as one of the top pick for fruit trees. John Kohler, in his YouTube video “How to Harvest Ripe Mulberries out of a Mulberry Tree”, exclaims after tasting a freshly picked Morus nigra mulberry,
“It's like an orgasm in your mouth!”.
If you live in the Contiguous US (plus Hawaii), there will be at least a couple of cultivars from which to choose.
Aged mulberry tree near Turner Falls, MA
Planting a tree is a chance to immortalize yourself.
Peter Coles had this to say about his meeting with the Charlton House mulberry tree in east London:
"The encounter with a 400 year-old living organism can’t be taken lightly. It’s a bit like looking at a Rembrandt painting. You can’t just turn up, say “wow!”, take a photo, and walk on. A tree like this ideally deserves the patient eye of the artist, or the unencumbered eye of the contemplative. But I can’t draw – or at least not trees and my mind that day was cluttered with a thousand thoughts. The least I could do was let the tree teach me something about time, which it has stored up in abundance. And that meant staying a while."
Mulberries are rich in antioxidants, vitamin-C, and iron, but relatively low in calories, containing just 43 per 100-gram serving. Mulberry leaf helps stabilize blood sugar in treating type 2 diabetes, and appears to be effective for weight loss and lowering cholesterol. It is also claimed that mulberries can help with premature graying.
Mulberries are a terrific low-carbohydrate choice, sporting lower levels of sugar than other popular dried fruits - by about half.
Need more fiber in your diet? Mulberries provide an impressive 20 percent of your daily requirement in only 1/3 of a cup.
The berries are also a good source of protein, with 4 grams per serving.
Research has shown that extracts of white mulberry inhibit both hepatitis C as well as HIV.
Due to notable levels of resveratrol, the berries possess anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Those concerned about Parkinson's or Alzheimer's can rest easy. Studies indicate that mulberries offer significant neuroprotective benefits.
Brimming with anthocyanins, mulberries ward off bacterial and viral infections, inflammation, cancer and diabetes. The fruit also shields against the effects of aging.
Watching your weight? Water extracts of the berry have slimming anti-obesity attributes.
Blood sugar levels are tamed with mulberry too. Deoxynojirimycin (DNJ) is a potent glucosidase inhibitor found in mulberry leaves. Scientists believe DNJ markedly minimizes the risk of diabetes mellitus.
Peter Coles is a writer, photographer, and developer of an outstanding British website that supports the "Morus Londinium" project "to record and research London’s mulberry trees to raise public awareness and protect them."
This Black Mulberry (Morus nigra), over 400 years old, resides at the "Charlton House" grounds in London.