Our mulberry tree is covered with mulberries that are only days away from ripening. Mulberries don’t last long once picked, so preserving them to enjoy them for months to come is easily done with by dehydrating them. Read on to learn how to dehydrate mulberries and mulberry leaves to enjoy for months, even when they aren’t in season.
There are many different types of mulberries – red, white and black. If you don’t have a mulberry tree of your own, make sure you are harvest mulberries and mulberry leaves from a tree that hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals.
How to Dehydrate Mulberries
First, you will need to harvest your mulberries.
If you want to, carefully cut the stem from the mulberry. This stem is edible, so this step is not necessary, it is up to your personal preference.
Then carefully wash and pat dry the mulberries. When washing, add a little lemon juice to the water if you want. This will help with preserving the brilliant colours of the mulberries, though this is optional. Mulberries tend to bruise easily, so you do need to be careful. Try using a salad spinner for rinsing them and removing of all the water.
Arrange the mulberries in a single layer on your dehydrator trays, making sure they don’t touch. I like to line my dehydrator trays with baking paper as mulberries can stain, and the paper can then easily be thrown out when drying has been completed.
Set your dehydrator to 60˚C or 140˚F for 20+ hours. Drying time varies depending on how dry you want your mulberries as well as how big your mulberries are.
Dry until they reach your personal preference – If you want to keep your mulberries for future use, then they will need to be completely dried before storing them.
- Mulberries can be dried almost all of the way, leaving them a little moist and squishy so they become just like raisins.
- Or, mulberries can be dehydrated until completely dry. When ready, they should crumble. If you don’t have a dehydrator, then you can dry them in the oven. Bake slowly at 60˚C or 140˚F for 20+ hours, turning with a spatula every hour or so until they are dry. Test to make sure they are completely dry before removing.
Using Dried Mulberries
Dried mulberries are so versatile. They can be:
- Add to granola, oats, and trail mixes. They pair really well with nuts, dried berries and coconut!
- Sprinkle on top of your ice cream, yoghurt or chia puddings
- Blend into smoothies
- Soak a couple of dried mulberries in your tea to make a delicious herbal tea.
- Add when baking muffins, cupcakes, cakes and other baked goods
- Eat them as is!
To reconstitute dried mulberries, soak them in water until they are ready before using.
Conditioning Dried Mulberries
Once these mulberries have been full dehydrated, they will need to be conditioned to be kept without going off. Fill a jar about two-thirds full and seal the lid. Over the next week or so, shake the jar a couple of times a day. If you start to see mould, they will need to be thrown out. If you see moisture, they are not dried enough, and need to be placed back into the dehydrator.
Once they have been conditioned, the jars can be fulled completely and stored in a cool, dark place. If they do start to have a strong smell or you can see moisture in the jars, it is time to dehydrate another batch of mulberries.
Storing Dried Mulberries
After your mulberries have dried to ‘raisin’ readiness, store these mulberries in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of months. Check regularly for mould.
For longer term storage, completely dry mulberries before storing.
After checking to make sure the berries are dried, allow them to cool down to room temperature. These mulberries can then be used in their dried state, ground into a powder or can be rehydrated to use in baking goods.
Store the dried mulberries in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a year. If you live in a dry, humid area, you may need to store them in the fridge or freezer as they may spoil otherwise.
You can also freeze fresh and dried mulberries if you have space in a freezer.
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How to Dehydrate Mulberry Leaves
The leaves of the mulberry tree have been used for generations in teas, tinctures and medicines. They are the sole food source of the silkworm as well. It is said that they contain loads vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium and more. Even though mulberry leaves have been used in traditional medicine for generations, it is important to be careful when using. Some people may have adverse effects such as diarrhoea, nausea, dizziness and constipation, from ingesting them. If you are taking diabetes medications, consult a health professional first as they may effect blood sugar levels. Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid ingesting the leaves as well.
There are multiple ways to dry mulberry leaves. You can use:
- very low heat in an oven
- very low heat in a dehydrator
- a drying screen
Place clean, dry harvested leaves on your drying screen or dehydrator trays.
Leave on the drying screen until brittle (or leave in the dehydrator on low heat for a few hours).
Condition (see above) before storing leaves. Leave them whole if possible and crumble when ready to use.
More Mulberry Ideas
Make Mulberry Leaf Tea
A nice way to enjoy your dried mulberry leaves is in this delicious tea. To make 1 cup of mulberry leaf tea, you will need:
- 1 teaspoon of crushed dried mulberry leaves or one mulberry leaf teabag
- 1 cup filtered water
- honey (or sweetener of choice) or lemon, optional
Bring the cup of water to a boil, then let it cool for one minute.
Add the dried mulberry leaves to a teapot and pour the hot water over. You can also steep a tea bag if you have one.
Let the tea steep for around 2 – 5 minutes, depending on how strong you prefer your tea.
Strain, if needed, or remove the tea bag.
If you find your tea is needs sweetening, add a little honey or sweetener of your choice. If it is too sweet, add a little lemon.
You can also use a couple of the younger, fresh mulberry leaves in brewing tea instead of dried leaves. To continue having mulberry leaf tea all year round, drying some leaves while you can is a good option.
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