Mulberries? In the middle of the city?
Yes! And this country girl … or “Albanian Gypsy” as some of my closest friends call me … was ready to start picking, and picking and picking! There are 3-trees FULL of ripe and ripening mulberries on Keele Street north west of downtown Toronto. Hence, the fun mulberry recipes. Yum!
Antonio and I headed out first thing in the morning. I took advantage of Antonio’s 6’2″ frame to get the ripe berries at the top, but there’s is no way we could get them all. Along with quite a few that are still ripe, there are a lot of white and pink berries left on the trees which means mor mulberries for another day!
One large bowl full of mulberries later, we headed inside to see what I could manage to make with fresh mulberries. This was a first for me — the culinary adventure was on! Note: these sweet berries are also very tasty right off the tree.
Mulberry Syrup Recipe
6 cups mulberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
As I often do when I need a fruit coulis, I simply throw whatever berries I have in a pot, add water to cover them and a bit of sugar to taste. Over a low-medium heat, I allow the berries to cook slowly. After about 15 minutes, when the berries are soft, I put them through a sieve and allow them to slowly simmer a bit longer in order to thicken the sauce. Easy-peesie! Three ingredients, a little patience and there you have it, Mulberry Syrup.
A really yummy syrup to pour over ice cream, pancakes, muffins or what-have-you! Hmm, it just occurred to me, how about mulberry pancakes or muffins?
Mulberry Pudding Cake
Next, I found an easy, no fuss recipe for Mulberry Pudding Cake. It took me less than 10-minutes to throw the ingredients together and put everything into a baking dish. After 40 minutes or so in the oven at 350º I had one very tasty and a not so fattening dessert. Throw some vanilla ice cream, perhaps some whipped cream and a bit of mulberry syrup on top and WOW — Yum! (although with all those add-ons, non-fattening is no longer the case. Tastes good though!) Clearly Antonio, his son’s buddy Matt, his sons (my step sons) Andrea and Alessandro think so too!
Toronto and Italian Immigrants
Toronto is a busy, bustling city of more than 2½ million people … many of them of Italian descent. The first Italian to have step foot in North America and specifically what is now Canada was Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot) in 1497. Since that time, beginning in the 1900s, wave after wave of Italian immigrants made their way to Canada. Despite the very different climate in Canada compared to that in Italy, the newly arrived Italians began planting fruits trees — lots of them; mulberry, cherry, pear, apricot, fig, plum and many others. Did I say cherry, pear and apricot? You bet I did. Antonio has one of each in his backyard in Toronto.
Looks like I’m going to be looking for more recipes! I’m just sorry to be leaving Toronto in just a couple of days because it’s then the cherries will be ripe and ready to pick. One more thing … mulberries are one very messy berry — but SO worth it!