The Mulberry is from the Plant family Moraceae. It is botanically recognised, as Morus of which there are many species (sp.). It is thought to be up to 20 species of Mulberry. They are generally a sub-tropical tree grown commonly around Asia, Africa, America and Europe. The largest clusters within the genus are believed to be in Asia.

The Mulberry tree will grow to around 10 metres but can reach 15 metres or more.

Mulberries have much value nutritionally. They are high in Vitamin B, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Mulberries are an excellent source of Dietary Fibre, Phosphorous, Magnesium and Potassium.

Mulberries are high in Antioxidants and can assist in the lowering of cholesterol and blood clots. They can assist in maintaining weight when included as a regular food in the diet. They are an excellent food for assisting digestion and maintaining regular bowel function.

Mulberries ripen to a deep red or purple to black in colour but start life as a pale green or white fruit. Fruit is generally around 3cm long and about as round as a blackberry.

Mulberries have been used throughout history as a food and as a dye for textiles and as a colouring in paint in ancient times.

Mulberries are very soft when they are ripe and they tend to fall apart when picked directly from the tree, (leaving a not easily cleaned purple stain on the fingers). Growers will often use a tarp or blanket on the ground and shake the branches collecting the mulberries in the blanket.

Mulberries can be used in many ways in the kitchen.

- They are delicious fresh on their own or with icecream or pouring or whipped cream.

- Mulberry Muffins are a delicious treat and ideal for lunch snacks. Mulberries can be scattered on top of a sponged before baking to make a delicious Mulberry Teacake.

- The Mulberry can be used to top Pavlovas or cream cakes. Mulberry and Apple pies are great anytime of the year but there is something extra special about having mulberry pie on a cold winters night.

- Fresh mulberries are great in kids lunch boxes, but you will want to include a fork for eating them or they will get purple stains over anything white. Mulberry is like a magnet to white clothes :o)

- Mulberry has been used historically as a dye for fabric and painting. I have heard of it being used to stain and assist in treating fresh leather. Its also a healthy way of making icecream pink without artificial colourings.

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Experienced Horticulturalist with a keen interest in Organic Gardening. Eric's interest in Organics also shows in his interest in Organic Nutrition and Organic Skincare. More information can be found on these by visiting his websites or Subscribe to Eric's FREE Health and Organic Newsletters via these websites.