The Des Moines Register recently featured my Mulberry Syrup Recipe. I want to confess that there is a more effective way to juice the berries, one that requires more equipment. I’ll give the recipe as printed in the article in case you are not local, along with the modification.
You’ll vary the amounts according to a 1 to 2 ratio. Wear dark clothes because mulberries stain _everything_.
Ingredients: mulberries and granulated sugar.
Equipment: a strainer or colander and cheesecloth (read below), or a jelly bag (purchased from a canning supply aisle or make your own like I did), bowl to hold the juice, jars for storage.
Pick mulberries and rinse clean. You can leave the stems on. They’re almost impossible to get off. Be sure to include a few underripe berries to encourage thickening.
Variations on juicing. Pour the berries into an appropriately sized pan. Add water to just cover the berries. Bring to a boil then shut the heat off. The berries should soften and look ‘slumpy.’ Mash them in the pot with the back of a large spoon, muddler, potato masher, or wooden tart maker thingy (do those things have a real name?). At this point, you have three choices to get the juice. I made my juice bag out of an old sheet.
Option one with a handmade juice bag:
Place the bag in the bowl. Pour your softened mulberries into the bag. Hang the filled bag to allow the juice to drain. You can see my set up with the handles with the cabinet handles. Let drain a couple hours or overnight.
Option two with a commercially bought jelly bag: Set up your bowl and bag. Pour mulberries into the bag until full. Let drain a couple hours or overnight. (Local blogger Diana has photos of a store-bought set up.)
Option three with a colander: Set your colander over (or in) a large bowl. Line with a couple layers of cheesecloth or a thin tea towel. Pour berries in the colander and let drain.
To juice as printed in the newspaper, without cooking: Place the berries in colander lined with a couple layers of cheesecloth, thin tea towels, or use a muslin bag. Press the juice into a bowl, using your hands, the back of a spoon, etc.
For all options: Repeat as necessary until all mulberries have been juiced. Discard the berry skins. (Compost piles are great places to discard.)
Measure the juice into a measuring cup. Pour into an appropriately sized saucepan. Stir twice as much white sugar into the juice. Example: If you have 3 cups of juice, use 6 cups of sugar.
Boil vigorously until the syrup is thick. Let cool. Pour into sterile jars and cap tightly. Once opened, refrigerate.