Sweet. Chewy. Crunchy. Totally and completely addicting. Though it may sound like we're about to embark on a dangerous adventure down the candy aisle, the proud owner of these alluring descriptors is actually an incredibly remedial natural superfood: dried mulberries. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the flavor of dried mulberries reminds me a little bit of jelly beans. The big old-fashioned style ones, you know?
Like many berries, mulberries are loaded with benefits, earning their superfood status by packing in around 130% RDA vitamin C, 20% RDA iron, 8% RDA calcium, and 3 grams of protein per ounce (all in a mere 90 calories!). But mulberries take their nutrition one step further by also offering notable quantities of an elusive polyphenol called resveratrol. Often billed as a premier “anti-aging” compound, studies have shown resveratrol to have powerful anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and – indeed – anti-aging properties, while also helping fight cardiovascular disease and enhancing tissue maintenance.
Did I mention they taste a little like jelly beans?
When fresh, mulberries look like a small blackberry, ranging in color from deep red to off-white, offering a relatively mild sweet flavor. Sun-drying mulberries condenses their sweetness further, transforming them into an incredible treat that’s wonderful when snacked on straight, and also a brilliant healthy addition to sweet recipes, like my Lucuma Ice Cream Cupcakes from Superfood Cuisine. I also really enjoy using mulberries in savory recipes from time to time as well, such as an unexpected addition to crisp, spicy, fresh salad greens – a combination of flavors that is truly gorgeous. Just like the way it makes you feel.
Mizuna, Fennel, and Mulberry Salad
Mizuna is a Japanese green leafy vegetable, which tastes like a mild form of arugula. If unavailable, arugula will make a fine substitute. Serves 4-6 as a side salad.
1 large fennel bulb, including fronds
1 large bunch mizuna, stems trimmed and removed
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ tablespoons fennel seeds
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or more to taste
2/3 cup dried mulberries
Trim off the fennel root and fronds, leaving a 1-inch handle on top of the bulb. Reserve the fronds. Use a mandolin to carefully shave the fennel bulb into paper-thin slices, yielding around 6 cups. Fill a bowl with an ice bath, and place the fennel inside for about 10 minutes to crisp.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, fennel seeds, sea salt and black pepper.
When the fennel is crisp, remove the shavings from the ice bath and drain thoroughly. Gently pat dry with towels to remove any excess moisture, and place in a large bowl along with the mizuna, parsley, and ? cup mulberries. Toss to combine, add the dressing, and gently toss by hand to distribute the ingredients evenly. To serve, place in serving bowls, top with remaining mulberries and a few small sprigs of the reserved fennel fronds. Add additional black pepper if desired.