(now and again)

Tokyo DIY Gardening Hands-on gardening for a crowded city

Mulberry Harvest

Late spring/early summer before the rainy season in Japan sees the fruiting of Mulberry(Kuwa-no-mi (桑の実) in Japanese) – along a large stretch of the Tamagawa river.

Hidden beneath large broad leaves, juicy mulberries ripen out of sight – undisturbed except for the elderly and inquisitive children. I came across a grove of them walking through one of the expanses of parkland that open up a few kilometers out of the city center (exact location secret) and this year collected a kilogram for a rich chunky jam. A perfect morning stroll and afternoon activity. And a perfect excuse for tree climbing with the kids (not that one is needed).

In a city where going strawberry picking is an all-day, high-cost trip out to a neighbouring prefecture discovering a plentiful harvest down the road is magical and spirit-lifting.

Jam Recipe:
(1) Get some berries, wash them. Remove stalks if you like, but those in the know leave them for ‘bite’.
(2) Put them in a pot with some water, sugar and lemon juice, boil them (add a bit of gelatin powder if you like).
(3) When all feels right, stop boiling.
(4) Blend for smooth, leave as-in for chunky. Bottle.
Note: If this recipe is too vague for you [click here].

View a few more gratuitous berry shots on the Flickr set [here]

Tip: A good rule of thumb = when you see the elderly hunched over picking at the ground, foraging, or shaking trees, get in quick – (and pick their brains for cooking advice: they have the key knowledge).

2 Contributions
  1. Rudy

    Look’s like a superb spread. Must be one of Tokyo’s hidden pleasures.

    Jul 30, 2010

  2. Chris

    A fine, fine spread Rudy – most of it ‘had’ to be shared with the local kindergarten families…. at least I was left a bit for my ‘once-a-year’ roast pork sandwiches.

    Let us know when you come across an edible treat in your neighbourhood!

    Jul 30, 2010

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