Yes, berries, but not just any berries … Mulberries …
Have you ever had a mulberry? I hadn’t even heard of these golden gems until the wonderful people at Navitas Naturals sent me a package. These dried berries looked a bit like mini blackberries but with a dulled yellow hue. But, what I thought was most cool about them was how sweet they were on their own! Most berries tend to be a bit sour, and the dried versions are often sweetened, but these mulberries didn’t require a speck of sugar.
Being that I like almost all things sweet and I love fruit, the sweet blueberry-esque flavor of the mulberries worked for me. My friend and her two-year old son weren’t so sure. He made a funny face, but still ate them, and she said “not bad, but different.”
Knowing that my husband may be resistant to another new product, I took the muffin route, and baked these in his breakfast. I opted to make this wheat-free oat muffin recipe, but I used hazelnut milk alternative in place of the milk (to keep them dairy-free of course), mulberries (a full 1/2 cup) in place of the raisins, added 1 Tablespoon of ground flaxseed, upped the honey to 3 Tablespoons, and added 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Boy was I glad I upped the honey – in fact, I should have made it an even 1/4 cup. They were good, but needed a bit more honey (or agave or maple) to hit that sweet spot. However, the mulberries were really the star of the show in these muffins. I rehydrated them a bit in warm water before tossing them into the batter, which worked well – and against the backdrop of the muffin, the tender bits of sweet mulberry really shined. I think utilizing them in recipes (cookies, muffins, granola, etc.) is really the way to go. The muffins helped to temper the sweetness, while the mulberries made the lackluster flavor of the muffins pop a bit. Definitely a good match. You can’t see the mulberries, because they are pretty much the same color as the muffins, but trust me, there are loads of them in there …
Unfortunately, I ran out of my mulberry stock before I could perfect this muffin recipe, and mulberries aren’t cheap. Like other up and coming “superfoods” they seem to come at a fairly high price. According to Navitas, this is why they are worth a splurge (beyond that yummy taste of course!) …
“More than just a sweet treat, Navitas Naturals Mulberries are a true superfood. They are one of the few fruits to be considered a protein source — boasting a respectable 3 grams of protein per ounce – and are an excellent source of iron, calcium, vitamin C, and fiber. Mulberries also contain a high concentration of Resveratrol, an antioxidant compound that combats free-radical damage. Recent studies have shown that regular consumption of this special antioxidant helps promote a healthy heart and longevity.”
So, if you are in the market for a superfood, I would consider mulberries. Both my husband and I enjoyed them much, much more than those shriveled little goji berries.
For some more mulberry recipe ideas, see the Navitas Naturals Mulberry Recipe Page (most if not all of the recipes look to be dairy-free!).
*Berries by nature are naturally nut-free, but these are packaged on equipment that handles tree nuts.