Berries, with their deep, richly colored flesh and sweet/tart taste, are known for their antioxidant properties. Most berries are at their peak flavor and freshness during the summer, and are the highly coveted prizes of summer gardens. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are the perfect compliments to a summer salad, garnishes for ice creams, or the stars of a fresh fruit tart. But these aren’t the only delicious reminders that healthy foods can also be delicious. The mulberry, another sweet/tart fresh berry, shares many of the same characteristics of its more well-known cousins, but also offers some other amazing healthy benefits.
What Is The Mulberry?
A mulberry is a tree or plant from the morus family. These plants are native to many different parts of the world, and produce small berries which range in color from deep red to a dark black. The Asian and North American varieties offer the strongest flavored berries. The berries are often cultivated for use in pies, jams, wines, cordials, or simply to eat alone.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Mulberries?
Mulberries, much like their other berry relatives, are high in anti-oxidants. The rich, jewel-colored flesh of the fruit is high in anthocyanins. These natural pigments are often known to help prevent certain types of diseases. Aside from being high in anthocyanins, mulberries also contain levels of resveratrol. Resveratrol is a type of flavanoid which is responsible for helping to keep the blood vessels from being damaged and helps reduce the risk of stroke and increases the production of nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator.
These small berries are also high in other vitamins and minerals which lead to increased blood flow and anti-aging properties as well as have disease-fighting potential. Among these vitamins and phytonutrients is Vitamin A, Vitamin E, lutein, zea-xanthin, and carotenoids in small but noticeable amounts.
How Are Mulberries Consumed?
Dried mulberries, particularly the Turkish variety, are similar in flavor to dried figs. They are sweet, chewy, and slightly savory with high protein content. This makes them excellent additions to a homemade trail mix or chewy granola bars. They can be added to oatmeal for a satisfying sweetness while providing phytonutrients and antioxidants, or can be eaten directly out of the bag for a small and satisfying snack. Use in place of raisins in some of your favorite recipes for a healthier substitute with a unique flavor. Finely chop and add to cooked couscous or rice for an exotic twist on a side dish, or simply sprinkle on top of ice cream for a unique texture and taste addition.
Mulberries are an extremely versatile fruit which can be consumed in a variety of ways. We most commonly think of the black or red varieties which are strongly flavored and are most akin to the types of berries we are most familiar with. However, other varieties of mulberries offer different textures and tastes. White Turkish mulberries are often dried and have the same health benefits of other types of mulberries with the added bonus of being an additional source of protein for many consumers. These delightfully sweet mulberries have a hint of vanilla and are reminiscent of figs. They can be added to a variety of foods to give a powerful punch of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and disease fighting potential.