Mulberries: Nutrients, Health Advantages, Weight-loss and Cooking

‘Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, here we go round the mulberry bush, on a cold and fro-o-osty morning…’ This is a very old children’s song that you may still hear in any playground, chanted and sung to. Children’s nursery rhymes aside, though, what exactly is the mulberry, whether plant or fruit? What is its history, its geographical incidence?

A member of the Moraceae family and the Morus genus, the mulberry fruit and mulberry bush comes in three varieties: white, red and black. The black mulberry is the edible, or at least commonly eaten by humans, version, whilst the red may also be used for animal feed due to its impressive protein content and the white has often historically been used for feeding silkworms.

In appearance the mulberry is either red, black or white, a pendulous fruit with the appearance of an elongated berry. In culinary terms, it is often used in pies and jams and wines. Grown on several continents, it is commonly available frozen or canned and may be hard to locate as the fresh fruit. Interestingly, it has a major role to play in cosmetics as a skin-lightening aid, although different varieties have different properties in this respect.[2]



As far as the culinary aspect goes, the mulberry has traditionally been used for pies, juices, jellies, wines and jams. You might want to try Marian Kleinsasser Towne's suggestion of fruity jam bars with mulberries: it sounds awesome![5] What is the availability of mulberries like? They are sometimes hard to locate as the fresh fruit.



For humans, what does the mulberry have to offer in nutritional terms? It has one gram of fat content per one hundred and forty gram serving, two grams of fiber per 140 gram portion and has useful quantities of Vitamin C, iron and Vitamin K to offer.[4] Other phytonutrient aspects include the bioflavonoid content which has been found to be highest in black mulberries.[3] Of course mulberries could make a useful contribution towards your target of five or ten (or whatever) fruits and vegetables a day – just like any other fruit or vegetable! Any fruits or vegetables you have a fondness for are worth remembering when you’re trying to up the vegetable and fruit content of your diet.




References.


[1] Anjum, N.A. 'Ascorbate-Glutathione Pathway and Stress Tolerance in Plants'. Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media B.V.; 2010, pp. 171-172.


[2] Begoun, P. 'Don't go to the cosmetics counter without me: a unique guide to over 35,000 products, plus the latest skin-care research'. Beginning Press: 2002


[3] Ercisli, S., Orhana, E. 'Chemical composition of white (Morus alba), red (Morus rubra) and black (Morus nigra) mulberry fruits'. Food Chemistry. 103;4: 2007, pp. 1380-1384


[4] Nutritiondata. 'Mulberries, raw.' Nutritiondata website. 2009. Available at <http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1961/2> Accessed on 18/10/2010.


[5] Towne, Marian Kleinsasser. 'A Midwest gardener's cookbook'. USA: The Association of American University Presses; 1996, p.29.

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