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White mulberry trees that produce pure white fruit are rare. Typically, the fruits are white when immature, but gradually ripen to shades of pink or purple. They are a small variety, just a few centimeters long, and far sweeter than the black and red mulberries. They have a low acidity and a mild honey-like flavor. White mulberries are best when slightly overripe.
White mulberries are available during the late spring and summer months.
White mulberries, also known as Morus fruit, from its Latin designation, Morus alba, are technically not berries. Rather, they are an aggregate fruit composed of many small fleshy drupes clustered together on a single stem. White mulberry trees typically do not produce pure white fruit, unless specifically cultivated to do so. They are called “White” for the color of the buds, and not necessarily for the color of their fruit. There are three species of mulberry that exist: white, red and hybrid. The hybrid trees produce fruit of several colors. White mulberries are specially cultivated in China for their color and leaves, which are the sole source of food for the silkworm.
White mulberries can be classified as a Super Food, as they are very rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins, which give them their pinkish-purple color.
White mulberries can be used interchangeably with other mulberries as well as other bramble berry varieties. The one obvious advantage is that when baked or juiced, they don't impart any color. They are commonly used in pie and tart fillings, ice cream, jellies, jams and other baked goods. They are excellent raw as a snack or added to salads, but also dry well for granola or cereals. White mulberries freeze well for future use. They pair well with other bramble berries, stone fruit, young cheeses such as burrata and chevre, pork, duck, wild game, basil, mint, baking spices, and arugula, cream, mascarpone and citrus.
In China, White mulberries are considered a blood tonic and are used to treat a variety of ailments such as fatigue, anemia, and insomnia.
White mulberries are native to China where they were cultivated for their leaves and berries as a food source for silk worms. The relationship between the White mulberry and the silkworm dates back 4000 years. The trees were naturalized in Europe with the westward expansion of the “Silk Road” and later introduced into America during early colonial times. General Oglethorpe imported 500 White mulberry trees to Fort Frederica in Georgia in 1733. He wanted to encourage silk production at the English colony of Georgia, but was unsuccessful. Today White mulberries can be found growing in the Mediterranean region, in countries bordering the Caspian and Black Seas. They are also grown by a few farmers in California, specifically for farmers markets and restaurants.
Recipes that include White Mulberries. One is easiest, three is harder.
People have spotted White Mulberries using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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