“Here we go round the Mulberry Bush” is a nursery rhyme, a singing game and a film. Yet the bush also has strong royal connections, dating back to James 1. In the early 1600s landowners were ordered to plant mulberry bushes with the aim of starting an English silk industry. Unfortunately, the wrong sort of mulberries was imported meaning that luscious fruits were produced but the plants were no good for silkworms.
The royal connection continues with the National Collection growing in the grounds of the royal estate at Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Marlborough House. A few can also be found growing at Windsor Castle.
Here at Suttons we are proud to be offering a brand-new Mulberry, Charlotte Russe. Not only new to us but we have world exclusivity! Charlotte Russe is a new dwarf variety, only reaching about 1.5 metres, so perfect for any garden. A normal mulberry will reach up to 8m!
Another great advantage of Charlotte Russe is that it is self-pollinating and produces fruits on both old and new wood. You’ll be picking and enjoying the fruits in the first year as opposed to having to wait 8 or 9 years as with other varieties. The harvest period is from May until September so you’ll have to think of ways to use all that juicy fruit.
I found the following recipe for Mulberry wine in a collection of Farmers Weekly recipes first published in 1953. If some of the quantities seem a bit odd it’s because I’ve converted them.
You will need:
1.8 kg mulberries 4.5 litres water
1.6kg sugar 21g yeast
Place the mulberries in a large bowl and crush them with the back of a wooden spoon. Boil the water and pour it over the fruit. Stir gently, adding the sugar until it dissolves. Mix the yeast with a little of the warm water and add it to the fruit. Cover and leave in a warm place to ferment. After 4 days’ strain through butter muslin and pour in to a fermenting jar. Leave until the fermenting has finished then move to a cool place for a week. Bottle and keep for a year before sampling.