Mulberries look similar to blackberries, but they taste totally different. They are a combination of sweet, tart and peppery flavors. They are native to India, Pakistan and Iran. I believe the leaves are used to cultivate silkworms.
Lulu's dad, who is from India, loves mulberries. I think they remind him of his childhood. We always catch him red-handed when he sneaks out to the garden to pick mulberries. Mulberries are very difficult to pick without their leaking a little bit of juice. His white shirt and hands get stained with the juice of the berries and he comes back to the house with a grin on his face.
The darker they are, the better they taste. Daddy gathered a bunch of the fruit but the girls ate a lot of them and left me about a quart. No ripe mulberries were left on the tree. But what was left was more than enough to make some jam for breakfast. I made the jam so that we could enjoy mulberries during the fall and winter, but I have a feeling they won't make it that far!
Place the mulberries and sugar in a pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-15 minutes. The content should be syrupy. Add pectin. Bring the mixture back to a boil for about 1 minute. Stir continuously. Remove from the stove. Add the vanilla extract. Set aside.
Fill a large pot of water and bring to just under a boil. Place the Mason jars, lid, heat-proof funnel and tongs in the pot and let it boil for 10 minutes. Be sure to read the instructions that come with your Mason jars. They'll give you exact time and techniques.
If necessary, skim any foam that develops on the top of the jam before pouring into the jars.
Remove the jars from the water and fill with mulberry jam, leaving about 1/4-inch of head space or whatever your canning directions say. Carefully place the lid on the jar. Tighten the collar around each jar. Bring your large pot of water to a boil and place all the sealed jars in it for 10 minutes.
Remove the jars from the water. If the top of the lid still pops, the vacuum didn't form and you'll need to consume the jam in the next couple of weeks, storing it in the refrigerator. Otherwise you can store it in your pantry for up to a year.
To insure good sterilization of the product, I stack a dozen magnets together to create a stick and use it as a gripper to place the lids on the jars without touching them. Just make sure the magnets are clean!
When you bring the jam back to a rolling boil for the second time, your candy thermometer should read 220°F.
Another test to see if the jam is done is to place a drop it on a cold plate. After it cools down (2 minutes), if you tilt the plate and it stays in place, it's time to put into the jars.
The jam will taste better if you let the sealed jar sit for at least a week before opening.