Mulberries - Trinity College Cambridge
There are mulberry trees dotted around Cambridge and the mulberry-picking season lasts for three or four weeks from around mid-July to mid-August.
The 2006 season has been excellent - a long and hot July has produced abundant, large, sweet, juicy fruit.
What to do with mulberries
Eat them cold, with icecream
Eat them hot with custard, or bake them into an apple and mulberry crumble
Make a mulberry coulis and use this for making icecream, jam or just as a topping over icecream
They freeze well
Mulberries have a hard core (unlike raspberries and blackberries) and it is pretty important to get rid of the cores before making
icecream or jam. The easiest way to do this is to make a coulis. This is also a good compact way of keeping mulberries in the freezer.
The instructions below assume that you have about 3kg of fruit.
Put your mulberries (unwashed) into a large pan. Mash them to get some juice going. Bring close to the boil. Use a hand blender
to make a good "soup". Strain the "soup" through a colander (don't use a fine strainer) and discard the cores. Strain back again to
remove a few more of the cores. Keep going until most of the cores are gone. If you're making jam then don't over-do the straining because the
little seeds make good texture. You should be left with about 2.5kg to 2.7kg of coulis.
Use this coulis to make jam or icecream, or freeze it for later use.
For every 1kg of juice use about 0.75kg of sugar - more if you have a sweet tooth, less if you prefer a tart jam. Add the sugar to the
hot coulis, stir well and bring to the boil. Boil for about 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how much sugar you used and on how thick you
like your jam. You can always test a bit on a cold spoon (have a few spoons ready in the freezer - a dollop on a frezzing spoon
rapidly brings the jam down to room temperature). If you have a jam
thermometer aim for 105C - but this is a rather imprecise way of judging it.
A scum will have formed on the top of the boiling jam. Add a dollop of butter and let it all carry on boiling - the scum should disperse.
Any remaining scum can be skimmed off. Don't throw it away - it's delicious.
A good way to sterilize jars is in a hot (200C) oven. You can do this while the jam is boiling. Don't put the lids in the oven -
you'll melt the rubber seals.
Sterilize the seals with a bit of gin or vodka, rubbed around the inside with your finger.
When the jam is ready remove the jars and let them cool down for 5 minutes. Pour the hot jam into the hot jars. Put the lids on
straight away so that a nice vacuum forms on cooling.
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