Appalachian Food

How To Make Mulberry Jelly

Mulberry tree

Not long ago someone asked me if I liked Mulberries. I said “Well I’ve never tasted one nor even seen one.” Unbeknownst to me, I had driven past a huge Mulberry Tree for many years of my life.

Large mulberry tree

During the last year, Miss Cindy had the opportunity to move right down the road from us. She previously lived a little over 2 hours away. We have so enjoyed her being close by. Seems like we keep discovering reasons why were glad she’s here-the most recent being the magnificent Mulberry Tree growing in her new yard.

Mulberry Jelly how to make it

All she had to do was call and tell me she wanted me to come taste her mulberries. The girls and I jumped in the car and drove right over. It didn’t take any of us long to decide that mulberries are very tasty.

Gathering mulberries

I said “Well since we’re here lets pick up enough for a run of jelly.” We had read or heard that some folks spread an old sheet or other covering out to catch the mulberries when they fall. We sort of tried that method but I believe we had better luck just picking up the ones that fell. The girls helped the falling process by gently pushing the lower limbs with a long stick.

Easy recipe for mulberry jelly

In just a short amount of time we had enough for a run of jelly. If I’d known how good the jelly was going to be I’d have stayed till every last mulberry was picked from the ground!

Mulberry Jelly

  • 3-4 quarts of mulberries
  • 1/4 cup water for each quart of mulberries
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 box pectin
  • 5 cup sugar

Cooking mulberries

After washing mulberries put them in a large sauce pot with appropriate amount of water according to how many quarts of mulberries you have. Cook on medium heat until berries begin to simmer. Cook 10 minutes. Use back of spoon or potato masher to mash mulberries every once in a while to encourage them to release their juice.

You’ll notice in the photos-I did not cap or de-stem each mulberry. I tried one or two but it seemed impossible and since I was making jelly not jam I decided to leave them.

Mulberry jelly

Drain mulberries, reserving juice to make jelly-discard cooked mulberries. I used a food mill to do my first straining of the mulberries and then I used cheese cloth to filter out the seeds that made their way into the juice. I do the same thing when I make Blackberry Jelly. I don’t like seeds.

Pour strained juice into a large sauce pot and stir in the box of pectin and lemon juice. Heat juice until it comes to a full rolling boil. Once the juice comes to a boil add sugar.

Stir sugar until it’s combined well with juice. Allow juice to come to another boil and boil for 1 minute. Quickly ladle hot liquid into sterilized jars and seal.

Old time mulberry jelly recipe

I couldn’t believe how good the mulberry jelly turned out. The taste is similar to blackberry-only not as strong. Blackberry is hands down my favorite jelly. It’s also Chatter’s favorite. We both noticed picking mulberries off the ground is much easier than fighting briars, heat, sweat, bees, bugs, and snakes for blackberries. But we both agreed blackberry jelly is still tops and worth the struggle.

Miss Cindy’s new old house was built about the same year Pap was born. After I realized the huge mulberry tree had been there for many many years I asked Pap if there were mulberries around when he was a boy. He said there was-and he told me a story about one mulberry tree that he remembered.



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  • Reply
    malcolm burgess
    July 4, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Tipper we have a nice size tree I planted from a twig a neighbor gave me , and I have started 3 more at the back of the house for fruit and shade trees , I’ve made jam a couple of times some jam and some jelly , like both , I now have a couple of jars being made into wine , we don’t have blackberries or raspberries here in Thailand sooo mulberries it is , thanks for the post . Cuz Malcolm

  • Reply
    Don Davidson
    June 20, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    I made mulberry jelly years ago, and it was pretty good. The thing I remember most about mulberry season is the staining bird poop my mom always hated seeing on her clean sheets when hung on the line to dry. LOL

  • Reply
    June 9, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    I love all kinds of berries, but have never yet had mulberries. I’ll make an effort this year!
    I believe there was a time when folks were trying to create a domestic source of silk. So they were planting mulberry trees to feed their silkworms. I don’t know whatever came of the experiment (except that I’ve never heard of a big North American Silk Industry) but at least there are some mulberry trees where there might not have been otherwise. I only personally know of one, a beautiful big old tree on a farmsite from the mid-1800s. But now I’m going to ask some forester friends 🙂

  • Reply
    June 9, 2015 at 6:16 am

    LOL Ed! I love that bowl too : ) Granny had a smaller one that she made biscuits in. She wore it out and then got another one somewhere a slightly lighter color.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 8, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    I want that Texasware/Splatterware bowl that’s catching the juice in the 4th picture. You’d better have a safe when you go on vacation else you will be looking for one too.

  • Reply
    Jeannine Andrews
    June 8, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    When I was a child in the 1940s in the tropics of Lake Worth, FL, my grandmother had a mulberry tree in her yard. The sidewalk underneath the tree was awful to walk through. But! My grandmother made mulberry pies. They were sooo good. I have never had any other berry pie that I liked. Never saw any other mulberry trees in FL. She never made mulberry jelly.

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    June 8, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Had several mulberry trees at our old place. Bro Tom planted ’em basically by just poking branches off ones he found in the woods into the ground of a rather boggy area behind our fence, and they took.
    Use to sit under them for hours with a cuppa coffee and a strainer, pick a few, eat ’em, pick a few more, eat ’em, repeat – til my fingers, lips and mouth were quite purple.
    When we moved to our new place, there were none, and that was one of the first things I missed here. But Bro Tom found some saplings somewhere in the woods nearby, dug them up and put them in the yard, and they’re doing fine. They’re about 4′ tall now, we had some teensy berries this year and hope to have more and bigger ones next year.
    The stems are fully edible, not fibrous at all. (If they weren’t I suppose I’d be dead cause I’ve eaten that many of ’em through the years.)
    They’re also lush shady trees to sit under for a spell. I always thought the temperature was 10 degrees cooler underneath them. They can be pruned to keep at bush height which is easier to get the berries off of, but then you don’t have that wonderful shade.
    My way of harvesting them was to put a tarp under the tree to catch the stragglers, hand a hooked-handle umbrella from a branch, give the branch a little knock with a stick, remove the umbrella from the branch, tip it into a basket to empty it, and continuing on to the next branch with all the branches I could reach. The ones on the tarp I often got with a broom and a long-handled dust pan. Weird, but when you have back problems you have to be inventive. LOL
    There’s also a wonderful drink known as Mulberry Wine. Never had any, but judging on the hearty flavor of the berries, I bet it’s real tasty.
    Anything you can think to make with a blueberry, you can make with mulberries, to my knowledge.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 8, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Tipper, the jelly is wonderful. I will enjoy every bite of the jar you gave me.
    There are so many mulberries coming from this tree I decided to make some vinegar. I have about two gallons in a crock on their way to becoming some tasty dark red vinegar to go on salads.
    Tip, it is so nice that I live here now and we can share wonderful finds, like mulberries, with each other more easily.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    We have several mulberry trees on our acerage. Most are black mulberries but a couple are the ‘white mulberries’, which look red when ripe. Since they grow like weeds here the fruit is not very highly valued. I do use the juice to finish out any of the other juices when I do not have enough for jelly. The best jelly seems to be a combination of black and red raspberries, elderberries and mulberries.
    When our younger son was visiting with his 4 kids a couple of years ago, he had them go out and harvest a goodly bucket of the mulberries. Then he had the kids help him juice them and strain the juice and they finally made syrup for their pancakes. They all agreed they like the maple syrup best (because that is what they are used to) but I liked the berry syrup. I think I will make some up to have on hand when they come visit again in July.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Tipper, I had a mulberry tree until last week. It was here on our 10 acres when we built our house. The little girls were ages 2-6 and played under it, coming in with purple stained feet and panties at the end of the day. That was 47 years ago and I have no idea how old it was when we moved here. The years, and cattle standing in its shade, took a toll on it and this spring it began to separate (it had three trunks). Since the heifers always ran to it for protection from rain and wind, we were afraid it might blow over on them and it would mean certain death to some of them. So now most of it lies in my front yard after the farmer pushed it over with the dozer; it was beginning to rot inside. I never really cared for the taste of mulberries and never used them for jelly. Lots of critters (coons, opossums, birds and terrapins) liked to visit for a meal.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Back in ’87 when I built my shop,
    I had a friend, a yankee from
    Michigan who had 10 daughters and
    a boy. His property joined mine
    and he had built his house right
    in the middle of some huge Mulberry Trees. Lots of birds gathered and feasted in early summer when the berries got ripe. I don’t think he ever ate any tho…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    We had a big mulberry over across the pasture at our place on Wiggins Creek when I was coming up. It had a spring right at the base of it. We used to sit in the shade or play in the water and eat mulberries when they were ripe. We would get fussed at when we came home covered in mud with mulberry stains on our face and the seat of our pants. From the picture it looks like Miss Cindy could have a spring under hers too.
    I made some strawberry jelly just last night. That is the 3rd run I’ve made this season that turned out well. Before that was a series of failures. I learned the secret to making jelly. Mrs. Wages helps me. I tried using Sure-Jell and Certo but found the directions impossible to follow. I also found that both of them are Kraft Foods brands now.
    After trying to follow the Kraft product directions, I was so frustrated I emailed them, telling them I would never knowingly use any of their products ever again. Mrs. Wages instructions are simple and easy to follow. So easy in fact, I think I could make jelly from the passenger side seat cover out of a red ’64 Ford Falcon.
    I found out that if I put a little bit of butter in the juice before I boiled it, most of that foamy stuff won’t form. Then I swirl the finished jelly around in the pot before I put it in the jars just enough to make the little bit of foam stick to the sides of the pot. Then I dip from the middle. I don’t have a problem with eating the foam (it’s jelly too!) I just don’t like having to answer “What’s that on top?”

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Miss Cindy has a keen eye for stuff
    growing on trees. The Mulberry jelly looks good in jars, but I’m
    with you, Blackberry is my pick.
    I’ve never made jelly or jam, but
    a few years back, you shared a jar or two of grape jelly with white peach chunks in it. That stuff was right there with my daddy’s jelly, and his was the best…Ken

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Judy-thank you for the comment! I completely left out the rest of the directions didn’t I LOL : ) I went back and added them to the post so you can see them now. Thank you for catching my mistake : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    June 8, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Growing up there was a huge mulberry tree just yards from my house on the riverbank. Though we children were not supposed to go to the river alone we often did and usually checked the mulberry tree to see if there were berries. I loved them, but that was a long time ago and I can’t really remember the taste. Your jelly looks delicious.

  • Reply
    Judy Malone
    June 8, 2015 at 10:13 am

    When you added the lemon juice, pectin and sugar to the juice-did you bring all that to a boil a second time to make the sugar completely dissolve? I only made blackberry jelly one time and some how didn’t get sugar dissolved enough. My husband’s grandmother let me know about that! ha We don’t have a mulberry tree on our land, but I have a neighbor that does.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Your story today brought back a wonderful childhood memory. Our summer place in Lenonardo, NJ had the most magnificent mulberry tree. We always had an abundance of these tasty berries for the months of June and July while we vacationed as a child. They were a bit messy with the birds and our faces/fingers, but they were so good. It has been many years since I thought about them.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 9:30 am

    we had lots of mulberries around in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. In the country the sheet below helped you find more of the berries that fell while others were being picked – sometimes just giving the branches a good shake was the easiest thing to do. My Mother-in-law told of trying to put down a doubled sheet to try to keep the mulberries from staining the sidewalk – she gave up – the neighborhood kids had “declared” that tree to be the best “climbing tree” around and she just couldn’t keep running out with a sheet every time some youngster started climbing that tree.
    Our favorite way to eat them was in cobbler – especially with fresh homemade ice cream!

  • Reply
    Cheryl Soehl
    June 8, 2015 at 9:30 am

    I have a very small mulberry tree in a pot. It took a hit from the extreme cold last winter and I don’t think I will live to see this grow enough to produce fruit. I really love blackberries and miss the huge blackberry patch in back of my house when I lived in Florida. Guess you don’t have to worry as much about snakes when you pick mulberries as you do when picking blackberries!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Mulberry trees grew all over the place where I was raised. We were told not to eat them. All the folks from that area must have thought they were poisonous because I don’t recall anyone ever making mulberry jelly. I haven’t seen a mulberry tree in years, but the last one had much smaller fruit than the ones I remember from my chilhood.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    June 8, 2015 at 8:58 am

    My mouth watered while reading about you jam. I’ve never tasted a mulberry. Gives me something to search out.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    June 8, 2015 at 8:48 am

    I don’t have a mulberry tree now, but once had some at a place where we lived south of Clinton, TN. I’ve eaten the berries, but am not that big of a fan (same is true for blackberries).
    Mulberry wood is hard – in the same range as locust or hickory, I’d say. I once cut down a dead mulberry that was about 16 inches in diameter, and had to sharpen my chain three times before I got through cutting it up into firewood size lengths. The wood is easy to split, though.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 8, 2015 at 8:10 am

    How timely ! I have a nice mulberry in the back yard that came up as a volunteer. I can only reach one limb but I picked a few the other day to go into a fruit salad. I think everyone should at least taste them. My wife said to tell up she had never tasted them until this year either !
    I think mulberry should be commercially grown but I expect it would be a very difficult fruit to pick.
    Native Americans made cordage from mulberry bark as it is very fiberous.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 7:55 am

    I do like mulberries, but I just eat them fresh. The only jam (or jelly) I make any more is from wild black raspberries – my favorite! But I think I’ll try your recipe, as mulberries are just about ready here.

  • Reply
    Sallie R. Swor
    June 8, 2015 at 7:44 am

    There was one on our farm beside the pond when I was growing up and I remember using them for fish bait. Don’t remember making jelly or using them otherwise.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    June 8, 2015 at 7:43 am

    I have never tasted them but I remember there was a tree on a curve near our home and they would cover the road with mulberries. Many cars taking the curve too fast would spin around.
    I don’t remember anyone being hurt but all the locals went slowly around that bend when the mulberries were falling.

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