The other night I was sitting on the deck and craved a small sweet treat. I thought it should be about time for the Montmorency cherries and mulberries to be ripe. I decided to check it out, and sure enough they were! I think a fruit crisp is in order!
I have an old fence row along the side of my yard. It probably should be tamed one of these days but, honestly I like to see the power struggle between all of the wild plants there. I have a fairly large mulberry tree growing up the middle of it and so far he seems to be winning.
The Common Mulberry (Morus alba) has alternate, simple, undivided or lobed, serrate or dentate leaves 2-7″ long. They are smooth green on top and pubescent on the underside. The mulberry grows fast. Up to two feet a year (you can see why he is winning the war in my fence row.)! The fruit is multiple and of small fleshy drupes. The ones I have are sweet and dark purple but they can vary from white to pink.
I am not sure why the fruits are not used more. I think most people think of them as a nuisance. Birds benefiting from them can leave quite a mess in the area (cars, sidewalk, etc.). The originally were imported from China for the silkworm industry and unfortunately escaped. I am happy they landed in my back yard. Let’s get down to that crisp!
The crisp recipe is a simple one that I adapted from the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a by Barbara Kingsolver, with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver. You can check out the original recipe at http://animalvegetablemiracle.com/ It’s a great book, and the website lists places where you can find local foods, gives seasonal recipes, etc. It was this book that inspired me to make some of my own cheeses and yogurt! I am sure we will have a post about that soon.
Back to our crisp. I picked a combination of pie cherries and mulberries, enough to equal two cups of fruit. I pitted the cherries by hand but have use a cherry pitter before. The ingredients I used are as follows:
- 2 cups total of mulberries and pie (tart) cherries
- 1/8 cup of honey
- 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
I mixed the above ingredients thoroughly and divided it among four small ramekins (4 oz each, remember I am trying to do the moderation thing!)
- 1/8 cup of brown rice flour
- 1/8 cup of rolled oats
- 1/8 cup of brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 TBLSP butter
Once again I mixed the above ingredients until it was a wet sandy mixture. Then I divided it up among the four ramekins. I baked it at 350 degrees until the fruit was bubbly and the topping had some color.
They were just what I needed. You can’t get it much fresher than that! It went from tree to table in no time. You could use any mix of berries if you don’t have them in your back yard, but I have seen mulberry trees everywhere even along sidewalks! It’s fun to get outside and search for food even if you don’t find it, at least you got some exercise along the way!
Please do not attempt to eat any fruit that you are unfamiliar with. Consult your local wild foods expert to be sure about any wild food you plan to eat.