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Texas Mulberries


"The best way to avoid the mess under a mulberry tree is to make plenty of mulberry wine."


The Texas mulberry, Morus rubra, is native to the state. In no way should it be confused with the several hybrids of fruitless mulberry, nor should it be confused with the Chinese or Asian mulberry (which have fruit approaching two inches long). The native has smaller leaves, grows to 30 feet in height and 40 feet in spread, and naturally habitats wet stream beds and the eastern part of the state because of its appetite for water. The fruitless varieties have large leaves, shallow roots, and will crowd out other desirable trees as they attempt to secure all available water. If not planted near patios, driveways or parking areas, the native is a wonderful shade tree and the fruit are delicious.

The fruit can be messy, but they attract dozens of birds and are a good feed for humans, too. Leave the upper branches for the birds and harvest the ones you can reach. The average tree will easily yield more than enough fruit for several gallons of wine. Like many dark berries, the wine's color will suffer if exposed to bright light. For this reason, use dark glass fermentation vessel or clear glass wrapped in brown butcher paper. Store and age bottles in a dark place.

TEXAS MULBERRY WINE

Wash the mulberries after removing the stalks and pour into primary fermentation vessel. Add raisins, chopped and minced. Pour boiling water over fruit and allow to cool to 75-80 degrees F. Add crushed Campden tablet, pectic enzyme, half the sugar, and the nutrient. Stir well, cover and set aside 24 hours. Add yeast, stir, recover, and allow to ferment four days on the pulp, stirring twice daily. Strain through nylon sieve, pressing lightly to extract juice. Add remaining sugar, stir well to dissolve, then pour into dark secondary fermentation vessel or clear one wrapped with brown paper, topping up if necessary, and fit fermentation trap. Rack after two months and again two months later. Bottle, store in a dark place and taste after six months to a year. A full-bodied wine, it tastes better after two years. [Author's own recipe]



Last update was November 2nd, 2000.


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