Ever discover something new as an “Old Person?” It’s fun right? You revert back to a kid and want to tell ALL of you Friends ( if you still have any) about the cool thing you discovered recently. And if those “Friendly People” are nice, they will smile and nod and offer an invitation ‘to come out and try that sometime.’ And if they are normal, they will tell you that everyone has already tried that…..It’s old news and nothing special…. ( Ba! humbug!)
And so it goes that Cheryl has discovered Mulberries and Black Berries along our walk. I have known of these things for years. We grew up eating them until we literally turned BLUE! ( Mrs. Noorman was not very happy with us touching everyting with blue hands.) I’m not sure why, but I guess Cheryl thought mulberry trees never actually bear fruit.. AND any fruit you find in the great outdoors is most likely poisonous. Luckily ( or unfortunately….) My parents we not so overprotective and allowed us to eat wild anything….( even Beefsteak mushrooms, which ARE toxic by the way. Thanks Mom!) They would send us out to the railroad tracks alone to pick the berries that grew there because Grandpa did not want us eating his berries in his garden or around his house. ( Thanks Grandpa!) Yep! What a Great Family! Mostly farmers….so losing a kid now and then was not such a big deal because they usually had litters of 8!
However, Despite their best efforts, we managed to survive and learn what we could eat in the wild…mostly. And from that knowledge comes my understanding of the humble Mulberry. Humble because most people leave them for the birds or cut them down because they grow everywhere…especially in fence rows. Birds love to send them everywhere…especially on peoples cars…which ALSO makes people not like the Mulberry tree very much.
I have NEVER seen them in a store, farmers market, or roadside stand. I know I used to pick buckets of them and try tot sell them around the neighborhood. ( no one ever bought any….Sniff!) and one year I picked so many mom baked up several pies! They were great! The flavor depends on each berry. Some are tart while others are less sweet but more “mellow blueberry” flavor. It’s almost as if they lose their sweetness as they ripen. But with a large group, the flavors even out and they taste pretty good ( say…in a pie)
So now Cheryl is addicted! We ALWAYS have to stop by the trees and bushes and eat a few every day on our walks. The Black Berry is another find we discovered while walking a certain route. They are at least familiar enough so you see them in stores. The small plant is competing with many weeds and yet it manages to bear quite a few berries for such a little plant. Cheryl decided they these would be a great snack for evening time and we took a small container out and picked a few. She has been eating them for a couple of days now. Looks like we are down to one more day before we will have to replenish the supply. I can hardly wait! Because, I actually like picking them and they bring back memories of a happy, carefree, and dangerous childhood.