Exploring the Edible City: Uncover Mulberry Treasures through Urban Foraging

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I think I might have a problem. I am OB-SESSED with Mulberries!!!!

It is glorious mulberry harvesting season here in the mid-Atlantic! Trees in my neighborhood are dumping ripe, tasty mulberries all over the ground. I've been watching this happen for years and thought nobody was eating them because they must taste bad from car exhaust from the street. City fears. Last year I finally tried them and… they are fantastic! This year, I am determined to make the most of urban foraging in the neighborhood I love & take everyone I know along for the yummy ride. Here is my Beginners Guide to Urban Foraging!


I am in no way an expert on foraging or even a great cook. I'm a serial plant killer, as in I can't keep potted plants alive, at all. I use the SEEK app to identify plants as I am a city gal who doesn't know shit about nature. So when I say I am no expert, you can believe me. The hubs is rightfully concerned about my new obsession. 

I just can’t stand seeing fresh, organic fruit being wasted. I don’t even see the birds picking up these tasty berries (or here in Baltimore, the rats). If you are wondering what you can do with mulberries & what good mulberry recipes are, let’s find out together. I’ve made a variety of jams, berry pies, Vegan Desserts, Non Alcoholic drinks & cocktails- it turns out Mulberries are the ultimate ingredient for healthy summer recipes! And if you are looking for budget recipes, you can’t get much more affordable than FREE. So get yourself a tarp or old bedsheet (I got some at the thrift store) and put on some stainable clothes & let’s get foraging!



*A brief warning, you CAN eat too many. Apparently it’s suggested to eat no more than a cup a day. I mowed down a gallon or so in one day & got a Vitamin C burn on my tongue. I have been known to eat an entire pineapple at once, it was similar to that prickly tongue. I held off on the mulberries for a day & all is good now. I’m back on the free fruit train!

Mulberries are also a superfood & way high in antioxidants & anti-inflammatory compounds to fight cancer. Bonus! Free fruit for cancer free lives? Sign me up.




I set out yesterday to pick a few pints of mulberries while I was on my morning dog walk. They filled up fast! As I walked past this vegetable garden that I admire - she packs so much into a 3’x10’ space, I offered my neighbor a pint of mulberries. And she responded by giving me two heads of lettuce.

On my way back past the tree again, I saw someone else picking berries and made a new friend. Foraging with my new friend gave me the inspiration to go home and get a ladder so I could reach higher in the tree. But the best berries were tauntingly way above my short person reach. I wondered to myself, how did the Indigenous Americans collect the bounty of this mulberry harvest every year? Surely they did not stand there, picking berries and feeling them fall on their heads & all around them to the ground and getting stepped on. So I came up with a solution that turned out to be excellent. I went to the thrift store and got myself a couple of bedsheets, laid them on the ground, and give the branches a little shake… holy mulberry collection Batman! I also brought a stick to extend my reach and gave the branches gentle taps. It was raining mulberries! I dumped them all into my trusty IKEA bag and took my treasure home.








So I came up with a solution that turned out to be excellent. I went to the thrift store and got myself a couple of bedsheets, laid them on the ground, and give the branches a little shake… holy mulberry collection Batman! I also brought a stick to extend my reach and gave the branches gentle taps. It was raining mulberries! I dumped them all into my trusty IKEA bag and took my treasure home.











As I share this tree with the birds, I needed to rinse these juicy berries. Nobody wants to get E. coli from their foraging! I soaked them in water in a large pot with some hefty squirts of veggie wash. As this new shaking method releases a lot of little sticks and leaves, this is an excellent opportunity to pick out a lot of debris. I used a strainer to dip the berries out of the large pot into another pot to rinse off the veggie wash and give myself another chance to pick over debris and unripe mulberries.

My harvest today yielded 12 cups of premium mulberries. I made jam with these before and felt the recipe was way too sweet; the berries are sweet enough and I want to taste THEM. So I am making it with less sugar this time. We'll see how it goes…









Before you start cooking, you'll need to put a small plate in the freezer to test your jam. I'm using my favorite waffle House plate that I 'liberated' from a waffle house around 1994 while I was on tour in my band, Womyn of Destruction (W.O.D.). That's me in the purple jorts.











For 12 cups of mulberries I added 3 cups of sugar. Stirred it up and let the sugar macerate (fancy for letting the sugar soak out the moisture) the berries for 15 minutes.












urban foraging recipe for mulberry jam with 3 ingredientsMy husband introduced me to the joys of lemon zest, so I zest it all of the lemons that I use. I'm adding 2/3 of a cup of fresh lemon juice and using about half of the zest from 5 lemons. 

After 15 minutes of macerating, it’s time to add the lemon juice and lemon zest and simmer the fruit. You'll see that the sugar has really macerated the berries, releasing a lot of juice. This is why you don't need to add liquid other than lemon juice. 

I'm putting my heat on medium and stirring it frequently for about 30 minutes. I have to set a timer as my brain is pretty useless when it comes to gauging time passing. 









genius kitchen hack spoon rest in pot handle

Also, did you know you could do this with your spoon while cooking! I just learned this recently. Who knew that pot handles were not just for hanging, but for holding your dirty spoon. I'm not a dirty Spoon! That's a dirty spoon!

Let the berries bubble away and work their magic. You can keep pulling out any little sticks and things you might find now. Nobody wants a sticky jam or pie. After 30 minutes, the jam will start getting a gooey consistency. You can check to see if it's all done with that plate. The one you put in the freezer.









Get your plate and put a dollop of jam on it, and stick it back in the freezer for two or three minutes. It should have a bit of a skin and ripple up when you touch it now. If it's still super liquid, put it back on the heat for another five-10 minutes.

Now I am no canning expert; honestly, it scares me! I am just putting this in jars in the refrigerator and giving it to friends right away and making a pie for memorial day. Delicious additions could be mint, rosemary, lavender, basil, tarragon- whatever you're into.










I recently discovered Filipino Calamansi Lime juice- nectar of the gods! It's like a key lime and the sweetest orange you ever met had a baby. I find it at a tiny Asian market in the freezer in little ketchup packs. Do some research & find this glorious juice. I put it straight on salads, in guacamole, in MULBERRY JAM, anywhere some acid is welcome.

Someone asked me if I pick off all the little stems from the mulberries. I do not! I am not that kind of cook. At my house, we say I make dinner, and my husband makes meals. Meaning I am all for shortcuts, people will be fed, but they may not be thrilled. He makes gourmet events that take 3 days to prepare. After boiling the mulberries, I didn't notice the stems at all. So if you want to spend hours getting purple fingers for that level of fancy, that's on you /:








We do our best to be Zero waste in our business and our home. We make our doormats on eco-friendly coconut coir mats, flocculate the paint solids from our waste water & sweep up the loose coco fibers to use in our garden. We save the pallets our doormats are delivered on & make ourselves garden furniture. Nothing goes to the landfill here if we can help it. We also ship carbon neutral with UPS.

So, don’t toss those lemon rinds in the trash can! Americans throw out 30% of our food straight to the dump. Food waste decomposing in the landfill makes up 11% of our Greenhouse gases! Toss those babies in your compost bucket. Many Farmer's Markets now have compost collecting stations if you don't compost. Mom's Organic Market takes compostables too. 

And don't throw out that extra lemon zest! Lemon zest makes every meal better. I use it in salad dressings, pasta, roasted vegetables, marinades for grilling, and pickled things. There's really nothing that isn’t improved with lemon zest. I'm pretty sure it would be good on ice cream too.

I boiled these fresh n tasty berries for 40 minutes, and it never did get the syrupy consistency I got with the full sugar recipe. Fine by me- the extra sugar is not missed at all. It's delicious and I am absolutely going to put this on my toast and on ice cream!


vegan toast butter and foraged mulberry jam diy

MY FIRST POT OF JAM WAS UH-MAY-ZING!!!! I ate 4 slices of bread & butter with jam. I love it how the 'trashy' Country Crock of my hippy house youth is now approved Vegan butter substitute! Don't get me wrong, I love me some trashy foods. After growing up eating wheat germ with honey as a 'treat', I can spread some Earth Balance thick & savor every bite.






Next up, I will have a fresh mulberry cocktail with some mint from the garden, a little lemon zest & a LaCroix sweetie, darling!

Then Mulberry syrup on pancakes, as topping for my kale salad, the hubs made a vegan coffee cake with mulberry jam inside AND on top!

Let me know what you're foraging and if you made any fun modifications to the recipe! 

Follow me for Green and DIY home projects and, as always, fun Doormats!

Happy foraging!

Spoon & Lee & Tammy Sandwiches & Werner Hertzdog







vegan kale salad with foraged mulberriesTurns out, mulberries are a superfood & just look at these benefits according to the NIH.

NIH article  “the extracts and active components of mulberry fruit have demonstrated numerous biological activities, including antioxidant, neuroprotective, antiatherosclerosis, immunomodulative, antitumor, antihyperglycemic, and hypolipidemic activities in in vitro and in vivo studies”


12 cups fresh Mulberries

3-4 cups sugar

3/4c fresh lemon juice

zest of 3 lemons


  • Wash & pick over your Mulberries

  • Add sugar & toss berries to coat- let rest & macerate for 15 min

  • Put a plate in the freezer to test your jam later

  • Add lemon juice & zest (and other herbs if desired)

  • Simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 -40 min


  • put a dollop of jam on the plate from the freezer & put it back in the freezer for a min or two.

  • If it has a 'skin' when you poke it with your finger, it's done! Or, if you are done with cooking like I was, it's done!






Calamansi Lime juice (This is Filipino, I find this frozen at my local Asian Market)

Congratulations! You just made a fantastic foraged jam!