Mulberries have been used for centuries in various recipes. Mulberry wine, mulberry cordial, mulberry pie and jams. This is one fruit that gives profusely however they have sadly fallen out of fashion. I'm sure it is because they can be tedious to pick or that they don't have an intense flavour. I have yet to see mulberries by the basket full at our local farmer's markets.
The trick to harvesting the berries is to place a sheet underneath the tree (many times it looks like a bush if not pruned in its early growing stages). You then shake the tree gently and the berries will fall onto the sheet. You can then gently make into a pile and collect.
Mulberries stain sidewalks, hands and fabrics. In other words don't plant them near a pathway you want to keep clean. Don't pick mulberries the day you accept your Emmy at the Oscars and don't use a blanket or sheet that is a family heirloom.
Pioneers used to use the dye from the berries in their cloth and yarn. The colour is a deep purple which is extremely difficult to get. I may have to try dying something for fun just to see what happens.
The berries have strong anti-oxidant compounds and are high in various vitamins. When harvesting make sure you gather the purple ones and leave the lighter coloured berries. The unripe berries can have an unpleasant laxative effect if you're not careful. I wasn't able to harvest enough berries today before the birds got to them so I will be mixing them with blueberries to make some tarts. Hopefully in the next week I'll be able to harvest more and brew a cordial from them. I'll keep you all posted and share my recipes soon!