New York

Mulberries: Foods You Can Forage For in NYC

For expert ecologist and SideTour host “Wildman” Steve Brill, it’s high season for delectable edibles in New York City parks—and not just because the food trucks are out. On our countdown of his top 10 foods to forage for, mulberries bring in number six on the list.

Mulberries

Red mulberries

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White mulberries

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How to find it There are two common mulberry tree species: the native Red Mulberry and the Asian White Mulberry. The Red Mulberry tree grows to about 65 feet tall with rough, reddish-brown bark. The White Mulberry tree matures at only 40 feet tall, with rough, light gray bark and spreading branches. Look for mulberry trees along the edges of parks, fields and residential neighborhoods. Or keep your eyes on the ground, as you can spot the red berry (black when ripe) from the mark the fruit leaves when it falls.

How to eat it Harvesting mulberries in the early summer months is easy. Simply put down some drop cloths, then have someone climb into the tree and give the branches a shake. Mulberries spoil quickly, so whether you plan on cooking, drying or freezing them, be sure to do so right away. The berries are great for mixing in muffins, pies or other baked goods. For delicious homemade pudding: cook berries down in a saucepan, then add a little lemon juice and orange rind (to cut their sweetness). Add a thickener, such as arrowroot, kudzu, tapioca and agar. Dried mulberries will be slightly crunchy, like figs. Grind them in a blender and mix in nut butter to make mulberry candy.

What else you might find While mulberry hunting, don’t forget to keep an eye out for Steve’s other foraging faves: yellow wood sorrelchicken mushrooms, lamb’s quartersburdock and juneberries, and check back regularly to see the final four forageables. You can take along Steve’s smart phone app, Wild Edibles (for iOS and Android), or (even better) sign up for Steve’s SideTour this Saturday to learn from the master himself.

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