When To Pick Mulberries – The Optimal Time Is…

If you’re lucky enough to have a mulberry tree or two in your close vicinity, it is without a doubt worth familiarising yourself with when the best time to pick the mulberries is. After all, when the time comes around, you’ll be in for a sweet treat, and a generous one at that.

So, when should you pick mulberries? The ideal time to pick mulberries is only once they have ripened. Their ripe state can be effectively determined by the time of year (typically Spring through Summer), as well as by a bunch of specific attributes held by the mulberries themselves. Namely, their taste, color, and texture.

That is the high-level overview.

But as you can imagine, there is a lot more to it than that.

So let’s delve into mulberry picking in much more detail to ensure you only do so at the best (and right) time!

What Month Are Mulberries Ready To Pick?

Ordinarily, mulberries are ready to pick all the way through Spring and Summer, with the closing harvest dating around the time of late August. 

Hence, the harvesting window is a few months long, which is admittedly fairly rare as far as berry trees are concerned. 

However, there is a good reason for it. 

Quite simply, not all mulberries ripen at the same time. 

It makes good sense, given that there are a few different varieties of commonly found mulberries; red, black, and white. 

As well as their own tastes, each of these varieties has its own unique growth schedule. 

So, whilst you can expect to find that white and red mulberries are usually ready and ripe by the end of May, black Mulberries, which are historically the most popular of the bunch, take a little longer and are known to ripen further into the Summer months, usually in August. 

How Do You Know When Mulberries Are Ripe?

Color, taste and positioning are the key identifiers that suggest mulberries are ripe and ready for picking.

Their Color 

A telltale sign that mulberries are ripe is the color of their skin. 

Depending on which variety of mulberry you have before you, the skin color will either be a dark purple reddish tone or a full white. 

It is really as simple as that! You can’t miss them, especially given that unripe mulberries are found in shades of green, pinks, and whitish reds and look profoundly different. 

By Taste

An additional giveaway that mulberries are ripe is their taste. 

On the whole, when ripe, mulberries of the red and black variety taste mostly sweet, with pleasant tart notes too.   

White mulberries are sweet too, perhaps even sweeter than their red friends, and are often described as resembling the taste of honey, which speaks volumes of their deliciousness! 

Not only does their taste mean that they are a highly sought-after berry, but mulberries are also extraordinarily good for you too! 

The healthy berries are tremendously high in antioxidants, enough so that they have rightfully garnered a reputation as a superfood. 

When in their prime ripe state, they are truly the whole package. 

So if you stumble across a couple, go ahead and give them a thorough wash, take a bite, and enjoy! 

But before you dig in, be sure to properly assess the mulberry first. 

Quite unusually and unlike several other types of berries, consuming unripe mulberries can actually be dangerous. When unripe, mulberries are toxic, albeit mildly.

Side effects of their consumption include uncomfortable stomach aches and even hallucinations. We say avoid it at all costs! 

By Positioning

A final way to figure out if a mulberry is ripe is by its very positioning. 

Ripe mulberries easily pull away from their branches. 

Thus, if you spot a mulberry tree with a bunch of mulberries laying on the subsequently stained ground below it, there’s a high probability that these mulberries ripened on the tree, and the mere elements caused them to drop with ease. 

Rightfully, the situation will look relatively messy. 

Think, stained ground, squashed berries, and if they’re in direct sunlight, the mulberries will even begin to bake; all worthy indicators that you ought to begin harvesting, stat, and when you do, I recommend saving yourself a fair bit of time and opting for the ‘shake and catch’ method. 

Of course, you’ll want to lay a sheet or net on the ground before you start. 

Do Mulberry Trees Fruit Every Year?

Mulberry trees do indeed grow fruit every year when Spring comes around, and when they do, their growing period, which spans two seasons – Spring and Summer – is regarded as pretty lengthy. 

Despite their reliable schedule and, usually, abundant harvest, it is worth noting that initially, it takes a mulberry tree around ten years before it actually begins to fruit. 

My advice is that you hang in there because great things take time, and your delectable mulberry jams, pies, and the like, will certainly transpire to be well worth the wait. 

Nonetheless, whilst mulberry trees do fruit on a consistent, annual basis, and their harvest is usually one that can be relied on to be generous, there are certain conditions that unfortunately have the power to adversely affect the annual mulberry harvest, both in terms of how many mulberries fruits, as well as the number of mulberries that prematurely drop before they have the chance to ripen. 

The primary contributor here is none other than the weather. 

Specifically, if a mulberry tree encounters either cold and frosty conditions or too much wind during its growing season. 

Fortunately, preventative measures can be taken, and they have proven to be effective, such as wrapping the tree in material such as burlap to keep it warm and staking the less mature trees to protect them from the wind. 

Other factors affecting the quality of the harvest include pesticides and pollination. 

Again, these risks are significant but can be combated by avoiding the use of pesticides in the vicinity of the trees, as well as planting your mulberry tree around others to enhance pollination.  

Do Mulberries Continue To Ripen After Picking? 

Once picked, mulberries do not continue to ripen. This is important to note, particularly as mulberry harvests tend to be so vast. You’ll want to have thought out how you’ll utilize or preserve your harvest in advance so as to not waste any of its delicious fruits. 

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