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30 March 2016

Mulberry jam & mulberry myth

I am standing under the tall and wide mulberry tree in our garden. At last, every morning I bring back home a large crop of mulberries in a strainer. I immediately wash them. Many are eaten fresh but the crop is always big and every two days I meticulously preserve each and every fruit and I make a new bash of jam from the spare fruits hoping that my mulberry supplies will last till next year when the new fruit will reappear. I do not want to run out of mulberries.oh no! After all I live in Morea!

Yes, the Peloponnese used to be called Morea (Morias) and it is because it was an area dominated by Mulberry trees (mouries). And as mulberry trees feed silk worms the area of Kalamata in particular was known for fine silk production.
Today not many fruit baring “mouries” are in sight, only those without fruit which are barren appear here and there used for shade in the yards of homes and taverns.

Mulberry is such an interesting tree. It is fast growing and quite resilient. The leaves remind of the vine leaves, and it’s fruits seem as if they should belong to a bush and not to such a massive tree. I love the black mulberries which carry an ancient love myth. The ancient Greeks have created many myths around flowers and plants such as the well known myths of Narcissus and Hyacinthus and Olive tree but also myths of linden, palm and poplar, walnut, willow trees and fruits such as pomegranate and myrtle, just to give a few examples…there stands a myth of the mulberry tree and a tragic love story of Pyramus and Thisbe so reminiscent of Romeo and Juliette.


One of my most memorable culinary experiences next to Italian cuisine scallops Alfredo in Washington D.C. and a home cooking dinner at a friends house in Raches on the island of Ikaria and a few other was my first taste of Greek strained yoghurt on the island of Andros. On the menu next to the ice cream there was a surprising choice of yoghurt with walnuts and honey. From that day on tasting this heavenly yoghurt is one of my daily rewards.
My mulberry jam and the Greek strained yoghurt is just a perfect match!

As you can see my food styling could not last as once spotted it was immediately devoured…

Mulberry jam recipe

Ingredients:

  • 500g fresh-picked and ripe mulberries
  • 500g sugar
  • juice of ½ lemon

Instructions:

  • Pull all the stems of the fruits and put them into a large saucepan.
  • Heat it over medium heat and add sugar.
  • Bring it to a boil and let it boil till the consistency gets thicker.
  • Add the sugar and lemon juice.
  • Bring it back up to the boil for a few minutes and then bottle and seal the jam.
  • Store it in a cool and dark place.
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