I am so glad I went for a walk around the block this afternoon. I've been feeling a bit cooped up the past few days--a summer cold, knee surgery, and an entire month of rain will do that to even the most stalwart soul--so following on the success of yesterday's short venture outside, I decided to go for a stroll before cooking dinner. My block is not the most picturesque and I hesitated before turning the corner, but in the end I decided to take my chances. If only all my gambles ended so deliciously.
I past the saw mill on the left, S.'s house on the right, and just ahead saw a man obscured by foliage greedily gobbling whatever was growing on the tree. I started to walk by, but thought better of it and instead asked, "What do you have there?" "Berries." "Mmm. What kind?" "Mulberries." "I thought so," I said, "My mom and I were just talking about mulberries." And without an invitation I picked one for myself and popped it in my mouth. He assured me they were very poisonous. Not worth eating. Really, very bad for you. I paid him no heed and continued to pick and eat the small fruits because they were delish and just as much mine as his. I ate a few more and then picked myself a handful to take home for dessert. When the berries started rolling off the mound I held in my palm I started to feel like the greedy character in a Greek moral tale and decided I had enough.
Several possibilities ran through my head: mulberry cobbler for one; mulberry tartlets; mulberry crisp; mulberry crumble. In the end I just sprinkled them with a bit of sugar, let them macerate while I prepared and ate dinner, and yummed them up with some whipped cream and two of the langues du chat I made on Sunday.
I don't think you'll find them at market, somehow. They're not as luscious as a blackberry or spritely as a raspberry, but they're a fine berry in there own right. They're firmish, subtly sweet, and definitely tart--if you happen upon one that is perfectly ripe the sweetness does actually outweigh the tartness. Their seeds don't get stuck in your teeth--I didn't notice them at all--which is nice and although their little green stems don't seem to come off, I didn't notice them any more than I did the seeds. If you ever get the chance, definitely give these berries a try.
Having discovered this mulberry tree, I feel my block has become that much more attractive. I'll be walking that way more often, I think, and if there are any berries left--if the birds and that man haven't eaten them all--I'd like to pick enough to bake something.