My first encounter with the word Mulberry came from the nursery rhyme “Round the mulberry bush” in preschool. I always had this vision of strange waist-high rounded bush.
In my twenties, when I was busy devouring documentaries and obsessing about the origin of every items we take for granted, I found out mulberry is what you feed silkworms. Mulberry was transformed from a European to a Chinese flora. Even so, I still had no idea what Mulberry, both tree and fruit look like. There must be a berry kind of fruit, right? It’s in the name. I imagined it would be round, like blueberries or cherries.
A few years ago, my dad planted a tree and called it mulberry tree. Mum went on about the manifold benefits of mulberry, from fruits, to leaves, to bark, and even the white mold that grows on it. Traditional Chinese medicine had been using mulberry for a long long time.
Now, I know what mulberry looks like. It’s not a waist-high round bush. It’s a tree, with small hairy elongated clustered fruits. What strange transformations mulberry had taken to get to the real thing.
But the good thing about having a physical real life tree in the garden is that I now have an unending source of raw materials to experiment with. You see, few things are more frustrating than learning something interesting and not being able to apply the new shinny information. When I was obsessing over duct-tapes, I went through several stationery stores until I could find that stuff that had the right thickness and width. When I was obsessing about paracord, I ordered 100ft of it off Ebay! But I can’t exactly order a mulberry tree, now, could I?
So, today, while Dad was pruning the tree (to keep it short and to encourage it to fruit), I grabbed two branches of those lovely leaves. Naturally, the next questions is … what do I do with them leaves? Google google … Right. The simplest is to make mulberry tea.
Now, the default way to make any kind of tea is to pour hot water over dried leaves and steep it. I have fresh leaves. And getting from fresh leaves to tea leaves involved complicated process similar to producing oolong tea or english tea, I was ready to chuck the whole thing into the compost.
Fortunately, for mulberry, it was easy. There are two ways. Fresh or dried. So, since I have fresh leaves, I tried the first method.
Fresh mulberry leaf tea
1. Get 3 fresh clean mulberry leaves.
2. Boil some water.
3. Cut leaves into rough strips (~1cm).
4. Put leaves in boiling water.
5. Boil until water turns light green.
6. The leaves may turn brown.
7. Filter out the leaves.
Mulberry tea was surprisingly good. And that is saying something, for a Chinese tea drinker like me. It has a nice soft fragrance that reminds me of pandan, with a slight sweet taste and quite smooth.
Smooth is important when I drink tea. English/Ceylon tea is not smooth, but harsh and acidic and needed sugar, lemon, milk or spices to make it drinkable. Chinese tea, especially good quality Ti-kwan-yin, Hong-pao, and Pu-er are smooth. Smooth tea don’t make your mouth feel dry when you drink it. Anyway, I digress.
Mulberry tea, through the boiling method, reminds me of Green tea. So, if you like green tea, you should give mulberry tea (fresh) a try. Provided you have a convenient tree nearby.
For the remainder of the leaves, I have cleaned them and set them out to dry. Hopefully, in a few days, I’ll have some sample of Dry method to try so I can make a comparison.
Note: For the multitude of benefits from mulberry, please google, yahoo or bing it.