Mulberry-Strawberry Jam

A close friend of mine runs a day care in Oklahoma City and she is so good with these kids that I always think that these must be the luckiest babies in the world to get her unconditional love and life lessons on a daily basis.  She makes up little projects for these kids – last week she helped them paint T-shirts for their moms for Mother’s Day and the week before she taught them how to knead dough and make the Indian flat bread!  So these totally American mid-western babies graduate from her day-care loving spicy daal-chawal and knowing how to make rotis!  A couple of weeks ago she uploaded pictures on her facebook wall of her adorable day-care toddlers picking mulberries from a tree in her backyard. The kids then helped her bake a mulberry pie and then they all got to “share” the pie at snack time.  The pictures of the kids with mulberry stains all over their faces and hands reminded me that when she and I were little kids we used to climb up on mulberry trees to try to get to the ripe berries on the very top branches of the trees.  I was quite a tree climbing monkey back then and the pictures of her toddlers brought back such pleasant memories that I decided to try to recapture at least some of the charm of those days by going out to pick some mulberries this summer.   So this afternoon I scoured our neighborhood with another friend and after an hour or so of cruising the streets we found a couple of trees that were loaded with ripe berries and we picked those that were within our reach without having to undertake the perilous adventure of climbing up these trees – although that spectacle would have been quite the scandal of the neighborhood (in which each of us has lived for over 15 years)!  I came home quite pleased with my “harvest” and instantly set about the task of making a jam out of it. I must have eaten half the jam during the process of cooking it because I absolutely love the taste of these mulberries and how they capture my whole childhood in each lick!  In the US this fruit is considered to be too lowly for human consumption, but I love it and I wish more people would realize what they are missing out on.


1.    2 lbs of mulberries
2.    ½ lb of strawberries
3.    2 and a ½ cups of sugar
4.    2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier


1.    Remove any stems or leaves attached to the berries and then place them in a colander and wash the berries under a steady stream of cold water.
2.    Let the water drain out of the berries entirely.

3.    Put the berries in large heavy-bottomed pot and start cooking them on low heat.
4.    The mulberries have a lot of water in them and so they need quite some time to cook and let their juices evaporate.  Continue to stir the berries after every 5-6 minutes.

5.    After about 30-35 minutes of cooking them, add the sugar to the pot (one cup at a time) and continue cooking for another 25-30 minutes on low heat. Continue to stir the pot regularly in order to avoid burning the sugar at the bottom of the pot.
6.    When the berries get cooked and soft (most of the juice has evaporated), using a hand held blender, grind the berries in the pot to a rough pulpy consistency. Do not grind them too much – just enough to get their pectin going and to give the mixture a jam-like consistency.
7.    Pour the Grand Marnier into the pot and mix the berries thoroughly and cook for another 6-8 minutes on low heat.  Cooking time may vary depending on how much water content is there in the berries. Stop cooking the jam when you see the berries are mushed, are in a jam like shape and all the moisture has been evaporated.  Let the jam cool down and then you can either place it in tight glass jars or in Tupperware in the refrigerator. I love this jam on a hot buttered toast or on a bagel with cream cheese!


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  1. Permalink Submitted by ritu on Wed, 16/05/2012 - 03:54

    Wow!!These mulberries do bring back our childhood memories!!Though these are not readily available these days!
    Talking about memories I must share with you that this friend of yours has always been good with kids.When younger sisters were considered as pain and nuisance we would get all the love and affection from this lovely lady!May God Bless her with happiness always!!!!

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Wed, 16/05/2012 - 12:46

      Hey Ritu!!! Yes, she has a heart of gold and I was lucky enough to have discovered it very early! About the mulberries – I noticed that both mulberries and “phalsey” – two fruits that I used to love back then, have totally disappeared from the fruit stalls in India 🙁 Anyway, I went and picked my own mulberries yesterday and that was such fun 🙂

  2. Permalink Submitted by Sunshine on Wed, 16/05/2012 - 20:12

    Hi! Thank you so much for posting this – what a wonderful blog and amazing recipe (I can’t wait to give it a try). I also wanted to say thank you for recognizing your friend’s amazing talents. Two of her babies are mine and I thoroughly love the fact that they are exposed to such wisdom, love, and grace on a daily basis. Your blog is such a wonderful mix of nostalgia and good food. Thank you for sharing your talents too!

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Wed, 16/05/2012 - 21:41

      Hi Sunshine! Yes, I know your kids well – Vandita has told me all about your wonderful Kenyon (I am not sure of the spelling) and Ponder – and even though I have not met them, I feel like I know them because Vandita tells me such wonderful stories about their time with her. Thank you for compliment
      on the blog – I hope you get to try some recipes and enjoy the food. I would love some feedback if you do try the recipes 🙂

  3. Permalink Submitted by vandita stephens on Thu, 17/05/2012 - 17:44

    Shabnam, our next project with these mulberries will be this jam. I have already announced this to the babies and they all danced and screamed when I told them that. Yes, picking these mulberries with these babies brought back all those childhood memories of climbing up on these trees and you making sure I got the ripe and sweet ones, since I got stuck in the middle sometimes. You always have been a good friend! Ritu, I am glad to hear that you were not ignored as a little one! But I am sad to hear that you cannot find mulberries anymore in India! Shabnam, Ritu, and Sunshine, thank you for the kind words. It is so encouraging. And Shabnam, keep up the good work and thank you for expanding our cooking horizons!

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Fri, 18/05/2012 - 01:02

      Vandita – hopefully, I have expanded ALL your horizons, not just the cooking ones 😉

  4. Permalink Submitted by vandita stephens on Fri, 18/05/2012 - 16:51

    Yes, you have Shabnam!!! Should I go in details?!!! Enjoy cooking for Aman’s prom party!!! I wish I could be there to sample your delicious cooking!!!!

  5. Permalink Submitted by vandita stephens on Sun, 27/05/2012 - 02:31

    Shabnam, I made this mulberry jam today. It was delicious!!! Spencer ate whole wheat toast with this jam for dinner. I love it. Thank you for being so creative!

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Sun, 27/05/2012 - 22:42

      Yayyyyyy!!! I am so happy that the jam was a hit in your household! Try it on crackers with cream-cheese…I love that for a snack 🙂

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