Royal Blue Velvet Cake

This recipe has been around for a while but I was a little surprised that so many of my friends hadn’t heard of it. You’ll impress your family and friends with this one! I believe the original recipe came from the Betty Crocker Kitchen.

Royal Blue Velvet Cake

Prep Time 30 Minutes

Total Time 1:35 Hr:Mins

For the Cake:

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa

2 teaspoons royal blue paste food color

1 toothpickful violet paste food color (be sure to get the paste food coloring)

violet paste food color

For the Frosting:

1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

  1. Heat oven to 325°F. Grease bottom and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans with shortening and lightly flour, or spray with baking spray with flour.
  2. In large bowl, beat all cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds or until moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  3. Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake 23 to 28 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched in center. Cool 15 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.
  4. In large microwavable bowl, microwave marshmallow creme uncovered on High 15 to 20 seconds to soften. Add butter. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and salt until smooth.
  5. If necessary, trim rounded tops of two cake layers to flatten before assembling. Place 1 cake layer, top side down, on serving plate; spread with about 1/3 cup frosting. Top with second layer, top side down; spread with about 1/3 cup frosting. Top with untrimmed cake layer, top side up. Frost side and top of cake with remaining frosting.

Royal Blue Velvet Cake

Seed Savers’ Glossary of Terms

One of the most prudent things a gardener can learn is how to save seeds from one season to use the next. Growing your garden from seeds you’ve gathered and saved moves you to the next level of sustainability. And the vegetables and herbs you grow from the seeds you’ve saved just seem to taste better! I find it almost magical to watch plants sprout from seeds I’ve saved from the year before.

One thing you need to keep in mind before you plant is that not all seeds will produce viable seeds. Avoid purchasing any GMO seeds! These are the kinds of edibles we should avoid anyway and you won’t get viable seeds from them. Hybrids may produce seeds that sprout but you can’t be sure which traits the resulting plant will give you. The best bet for seed saving is to purchase heirloom seeds from a reputable seller. Look for companies that state that they do not use GMO seeds and that do sell heirloom seeds.

To start this series I’m going to give you a Glossary of Terms that you will use in your seed saving adventure. You may not use all of the methods. It depends on what you grow and what seeds you’re trying to save. But this Glossary will give you a comprehensive list of terms so that you understand the various methods and equipment for properly saving seeds.

alternate-day caging – A technique that allows two different flowering varieties to be pollinated by insects without being cross-pollinated. Cages constructed of wood, wire, or plastic frames are covered with fine screen. One variety is covered with cages one day, allowing the other to be visited and pollinated by insects; the cages are switched each day to allow insect access to the previously caged variety.

anther – Organ where pollen is produced.

chaff – Broken pieces of dried seed capsules, stems, leaves and other debris mixed in with seeds.

characteristics – General features caused by unidentified complexes of genes including but not limited to freeze tolerance, cold tolerance, regional adaptability, winter hardiness, early maturation, and flavor.

cleaning screen – Screens with different-sized openings are used to separate seeds from chaff. The screen number denotes the number of openings that will cover a one inch line. A screen is selected with openings just large enough to let seeds drop through without the chaff or as in the case of larger seeds, a screen selected to allow the chaff to drop through without the seeds. (See page 36.)

cross-pollination – When pollen is exchanged between different flowers from the same or different plants.

dehiscent – A seed capsule opened to discharge seeds is dehiscent. Seeds must be harvested before this process takes place and the seeds are lost. In some varieties, the seed capsules literally explode.

dioecious – A species with male flowers and female flowers on separate plants.

dominant trait – The variation of a specific, identifiable gene that results in observ able traits. For example, tall is a dominant trait in pea plant growth. Crosses with bush varieties will usually result in tall varieties. See “trait.”

F1 hybrid – The “F” in F1 hybrid stands for filial or offspring. F1 means the first generation offspring after cross-pollination. The majority of F1 hybrids are sterile or produce offspring unlike themselves. See “hybrid.”

filament – Tube that supports the anther where pollen is produced.

flail – The process of fracturing or crushing seedpods in order to free the seeds. This can take the form of everything from simply rubbing broccoli pods between your hands to driving over bean vines with a car.

flower – The part of a plant where reproduction takes place and seeds are produced.

hybrid – Varieties resulting from natural or artificial pollination between genetically distinct parents. Commercially, the parents used to produce hybrids are usually inbred for specific characteristics.

inbreeding depression – A loss of vigor because of inbreeding. Inbreeding is the result of self-pollination or pollination between two close relatives.

insect pollination – Pollen is carried from one flower to another by insects.

monecious – A species is monecious if it produces single plants with separate male flowers and female flowers on the same plant.

open-pollinated – Open-pollinated varieties are stable varieties resulting from the pollination between the same or genetically similar parents. Not hybrid.

ovary – The female part of a flower that contains the ovules. Fertilized ovules develop into mature seeds.

pappus – Small hairs borne at tip of seed (composite flowers only).

perfect flowers – Individual flowers that contain both stamens and pistils.

pistil – The female reproductive organ in a flower made up of the stigma, style, and ovary.

pollen – Equivalent of sperm in plants. Pollen grain fertilizes plant ovules.

pollination – The process of sexual fertilization in plants. The male chromosomes contained in pollen are combined with the female chromosomes contained in the ovules.

recessive trait – The variation of a specific, identifiable gene that results in observ able traits only if the dominant trait is not present. For example, wrinkled pea seeds result only in varieties where the dominant smooth-seed trait is missing.

rogue – The process of removing or destroying plants with unwanted characteristics or traits.

selection – The process of saving the seeds from plants that exhibit desirable charac teristics and traits. To identify desirable characteristics, plant the same variety in different environmental conditions, or plant different varieties in the same environ mental conditions.

self-pollination – When pollination takes place within a single flower, usually before it opens. Other flowers or plants are not needed. Self-pollinating flowers are called “perfect flowers” because they contain the stamens that produce pollen and the pistil that receives the pollen. Isolation distance to prevent cross-pollination is not necessary unless insects are known to invade the flowers before pollination is complete.

silique (siliqua) – Long, tubelike seedpod that splits in half.

stamen – A flower’s male reproductive organ consisting of the filament, anther, and pollen.

stigma – The opening in the pistil through which the pollen passes to the ovary.

style – Contains the pollen tube between the stigma and the ovary through which the pollen is carried.

thresh – A term used by seed professionals to describe the process of separating seeds from chaff.

trait – A specific feature traced to an identifiable gene or group of genes. Pea traits traceable to single genes include vine growth (bush or tall), seed texture (smooth or wrinkled) and disease resistance (fusarium, enation mosaic, and powdery mildew).

viable – A viable seed is one that will germinate and produce a vigorous plant. Seeds must not be harvested before they have matured enough to be viable. There is wide variation in the point of maturity at which a seed can be harvested and still be viable.

vigor – Strong, vibrant germination and growth. A desirable characteristic.

wind pollination – When pollen is carried from one flower to another by the wind.

winnow – An ancient technique used to clean seeds. Moving air from a fan or breeze is used to separate heavier seeds from lighter chaff.

Bam’s Banana Bread

{a little background: My oldest grand daughter couldn’t pronounce “grandma” when she was a toddler. It became “Bamma” which she then shortened to “Bam.” Since then all my grand kids have used this name for me.}

Bam’s Banana Bread

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt

2 cup plus 2 tbls sugar

2 eggs

½ cup oil

3 ½ bananas – very ripe, mashed

2 tbl sour cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup walnuts – toasted and chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together.

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Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk (or the whisk attachment of your stand mixer) until light and fluffy (about 10 minutes).

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Drizzle in the oil. Add the mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla.

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Fold in the dry ingredients and nuts.

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Pour into the lined loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

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This banana bread is dark in appearance but very moist!

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Building Your Food Storage On A Shoestring

One of the biggest blocks when someone considers prepping is the cost. Too many people do nothing to prepare for an emergency simply because they can’t figure out how to pay for it. As I’ve mentioned, I’m disabled and John is retired. Our income didn’t make us part of the upper crust even before John got cancer and the bills started coming in like an avalanche.

In spite of our financial situation BC (before cancer), I was determined to do something to ready my family for a crisis. It was challenging to figure out how to start. I was overwhelmed. But when John got sick and I had to rely on the things I’d purchased I was so glad I’d made the decision to prepare. You’ll be happy you put in the time, work, and money should a disaster strike. It’s my goal, with this blog, to help people who are not as far along or haven’t even started preparing just as I’ve learned from those people with more experience.

You want to build your stockpile of food and water but you don’t want to have to go to a loan shark or sell your firstborn to do it. There are strategies to help you stretch your dollars. And you can learn from the mistakes that those of us who started earlier have made.

First on my list of things not to do is thinking you have to do it all before the sun sets tonight. When I realized how unprepared I was for a crisis I felt I had to get everything instantly. I didn’t research certain items as well as I should and, consequently, spent too much on them. I bought too much of some things and not enough of others. My first word of advice is to take a little time.

When you do dishes by hand the “experts” (and just who the heck is a dish washing expert? Sorry. I digress.) tell us to wash the glassware then the flatware followed by the dinnerware, and finally the pots and pans. If you wash the pots and pans then the glasses you’re either going to have to change the dishwater (a waste of detergent and hot water) or you’re going to end up with greasy glasses (a waste of your time, detergent, and hot water). Think of your preparations like doing the dishes. You do one thing at a time. Start by building a Deep Pantry then move on to 30, 60, and 90 day stockpiles. Eventually you can get into storing enough food to last for years.

Because I jumped in and wanted to build a huge supply in a heartbeat I didn’t set a budget. This was sort of okay at first but later it really began to pinch. Set an amount you feel comfortable putting aside each week. If you can only do $5.00 put that aside. If you can save $20, it’s even better. It adds up more quickly than you think and it gives you time to research what you want to purchase early on. Use all or part of your tax return to stock up. In our state we have to return most cans and bottles. I use the money from the returned cans to spend on my storage. What I’m saying is there are ways to set aside at least a little money to begin preparing.

There are a lot of things that you’ll eventually want to have stockpiled. You’ll need a way to cook the food. You’ll need personal hygiene items. You’ll need to be able to provide heat. But the most basic items are food and water so I’ll start with food. A huge mistake is buying the wrong kinds of foods. Remember, this is for a survival situation so stocking up on Twinkies and pop isn’t the best use of your money.

Your body needs certain things to function. In a survival scenario you’ll want to get the most bang for your buck in terms of both money spent and nutrition. In a crisis you’re going to need these foods at about these percentages: Carbohydrates – 50% – 60%, Fats – 10% – 20%, and Proteins – 20% – 40%

Carbohydrates break down quickly into the sugars your body will need. Fats break down more slowly. These two give your body the energy it needs. Protein allows your body to create new cells and without it your body will cannibalize itself. Without protein your body will eat your muscles to keep itself going.These three are referred to as macro-nutrients. For long term survival you’ll also need micro-nutrients which I’ll discuss later.

Many websites talk about stocking comfort food and I agree, in part, with what they are saying. But junk food is empty calories and very expensive. Avoid buying it. Another really expensive purchase is proteins. You’ll need them but be careful about which ones you choose. Meat doesn’t keep well unless it’s canned or dehydrated but beans will give you a lot of protein and is a really inexpensive choice. It’s okay to stock a few of the junk food items but don’t use the bulk of your prep money for them.

Make sure you buy the items that will store well if you have no access to a refrigerator or freezer. There are ways to keep even some of the more perishable items for long term storage and I’ll get into them when I discuss the ways our ancestors fed themselves without refrigeration.

Planning, price comparisons, and sales are the best way to get your food for the least amount of money. Plan what you want to start stockpiling then check your local grocery stores and online to find the best price. While many items you’ll want to buy, like dried beans, don’t often go on sale, you may find a great sale on canned items. If the store has a limit on sale items just take everyone in the family and have each person buy the limit. I’ve also purchased the limit of items, put them in my car, and gone back in to buy the limit again. If there’s a great sale on meat you can always buy a lot of it and then turn it into jerky. Amazon carries grocery items as do Walmart and Target. And they’ll ship for free if you spend a certain amount (usually $50). Buy salt, canning salt, sugar, molasses, dried fruit, and beans this way, too. A lot of the carbohydrates you’ll want to stock are sold in bulk. You can get really big bags of flour, pasta, and rice shipped right to your door. Check the prices for various online vendors.

By spending money for a membership to Sam’s Club or Costco you can end up saving a lot. Unless you have a huge family or are planning to feed the neighborhood in an emergency, don’t buy the 5 gallon jar of mayonnaise and stay away from the frozen prepared foods. But these warehouse clubs are a great place to pick up restaurant size containers of spices (which will help you and your family adjust to a different way of eating). You can also save a lot on paper products, personal hygiene, and even bottled water there.I’m lucky enough to have a son who lives very nearby who is already a member of a warehouse club so I just give him a list.

Coupons are another fantastic way to save money. Many stores will double and sometimes even triple the value of your coupons. We’ve all heard about the people who come home with hundreds of dollars in food and have only spent $10. I’m not saying you’ll be able to save that much but every dime you save on one item is a dime you have to spend on another. The number one source of coupons is the Sunday paper. Get the coupons from as many Sunday papers as you can. Don’t buy 50 newspapers (you’ll probably spend more on them than you’ll save) but if there are great coupons in the paper it may be worth buying a few extra. Another source is neighbors, family, and friends who may not use the coupons and will give them to you. Magazines also sometimes have coupons. Food magazines are your best source for food coupons but you can find food coupons in what I call “all purpose” magazines like Better Homes and Gardens. You can also find coupons for non-food items that you’ll want to stock. There are many, many sources of coupons online. Most require that you download their “coupon clipper” but you can find coupons from everything from food items to detergents. Manufacturers also put coupons right on their websites. This is especially true of the really big companies. And don’t forget the grocery stores themselves. Two of our local grocery stores have little coupon clips right on the shelves beneath the items the coupons are for and others have a coupon area by the bulletin boards. A lot of stores also print coupons right on the receipts. And never overlook the “save now” coupons attached to items you’re buying. Manufacturers often have coupons that peel right off the item that can be used immediately. Get creative. Check out your local recycling center to see if you can go through the papers left there. Some coupons come in the mail. Also check the trash bins of party stores and gas stations late on Sunday. If some of the papers don’t sell the store will just throw out the extras along with the coupons they contain. Just be sure to organize your coupons and to keep track of those that expire. Don’t miss the chance to save some money by letting coupons “go bad.”

Farmer’s Markets are one of my favorite summer visits. I’m lucky because I have at least six of them within a 20 minute drive. If you don’t know how to can, this is the time to learn. Be sure to follow only approved recipes. Buy bushels of tomatoes, vegetables, and fruit at a farmer’s market and fill your store with food you’ve canned yourself. Also look into CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) in your area. These are not only a source for fruits and vegetables but you can find honey, meats of various types (beef, lamb, rabbit, chicken, etc.), and even eggs. Many require you to purchase either an annual, seasonal, or weekly share but they can provide you with non-GMO produce and non-commercially raised meat and eggs.

Another way to save money on food for long term storage is sharing. You can buy items in bulk and split both the food and the cost with someone who is also storing food. If you buy #10 cans of items to split I recommend using Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and desiccant packs. When opened, #10 cans can be stored for an advertised 5 years but it’s more likely you’ll use up whatever the items is in less time than that.

Remember to plan, compare prices, and shop sales. Remember coupons savings can really add up. Don’t feel you have to buy the latest “prepper” storage containers or gadgets. Don’t forget to research inexpensive ways to accomplish the same goals as the expensive solutions. And, as always, feel free to ask us questions or leave your comments.

Housing Your Rabbits Outdoors

So you’ve decided to jump in and start raising your own meat rabbits. In my last rabbit related post I described the type of rabbit you want and a little bit about what you’ll need to get started. In this post I’ll go into greater detail about housing your rabbits outdoors.

One of the biggest considerations is how you’ll keep your rabbits safe from predators. Every night I see coyotes, foxes, racoons, and feral cats prowling my property. It’s imperative that you provide a safe place for your rabbits to escape them as well as any dogs that might wander on your land.

Rabbit hutches can be as simple or as grand as you want (and can afford). There are a few “rules” for properly housing your outdoor rabbit but glamour isn’t one of them.

Trixie-Pet-Rabbit-Hutch-with-Attic-P16271218 This hutch is available on Overstock.com and is quite fancy! I’ve actually never seen a hutch with an “attic” before and I don’t know how much your rabbit would have to store up there. I think this is a palatial hutch for the single, pet rabbit but expensive and not really workable for more than one rabbit.

very basic hutchesThis hutch, on the other hand, is extremely basic and was probably made from materials that the builder mostly already had on hand.

I prefer housing in the middle. Below is a list of my requirements for outdoor housing. Remember, keep your adult rabbits housed separately to avoid fights.

Our winters can be extremely cold so I have an outside and an inside wall with insulation in the middle. This insulation can be as simple as straw pushed down between the two panels. Be sure the straw can’t get wet or it will not only lose its insulating qualities, it will mold and could even spontaneously ignite! Plywood is great for the walls of the hutch.

I use hardware cloth for the majority of the floor. Rigging the hardware cloth to either swing down or slide out for ease of cleaning is a time saver. Just be sure that nimble-fingered raccoons can’t remove the floor. Part of your flooring should be solid so that predators can’t reach through and also to provide insulation. Something as simple as a wooden box open on the front will work.

The does should have a larger hutch than the buck as they will be sharing quarters with their kits at least part of the time. There should be a panel of hardware cloth on the front of the cage to provide air circulation and to give your rabbits a way to look out on the world. Be sure this panel is not too small to hook the hanger for your water bottles & feeders through.

Be sure to have a hinged door so you can reach into the hutch for feeding, cleaning, and checking on your rabbits. You want to ensure that the doors lock so raccoons (those clever little critters) can’t simply open the door and feast on your kits.

The roof of the hutch can be simple plywood as long as you use something to protect it from rain/snow. You don’t want your investment rotting and you don’t want your rabbits getting wet and cold. This material (from Lowe’s) is inexpensive and easy to use.

roof material

Finally, be sure to think about the elements when placing your hutch. If it faces south will it be too hot? In the winter will the prevailing winds make it too cold? From which direction do most of your storms come? A protected area with enough shade for summer and enough sunlight for winter is what you want.

All Natural Vapor Rub Alternative

So I (Kate) and the girl children that I spawned have been keeping ourselves busy outside as often as possible now that the weather has gotten nice.  However, on the rainy days we did some shopping and some creating.

I don’t know about everyone else’s houses, but in our house, we go through VapoRub like the stuff will cure all the ails of the planet.  So I set out to find a way to make my own…also because I don’t like the nasty greasy feel of the store bought kind.

This is what we came up with:

  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 10 drop eucalyptus essential oil
  • 2 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil

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And it was literally so easy a 6 year old can do it and mine did. You just mix it all together.  So simple and easy!  It may have even been easier if I had melted the coconut oil before adding the essential oils.

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After she was done I did use the electric hand mixer and give it a whirl to smooth the consistency before putting it in a jar, but for the most part she did it all on her own.  Again, if I had melted the coconut oil, I wouldn’t have had to use the mixer on it, but we’re learning as we go.  Next time I’ll melt it down to save myself some time, but it literally only took 3 minutes to make a batch of it.  And it smells better than the store bought stuff.  It’s still “stinky” so that it works, but the lavender really gives it another layer.

It will be a staple in our house from now on, that’s for sure.  No more icky VapoRub.

In Praise of the Mighty Mulberry!

Mulberries-on-treeI admit it. I’m a mulberry freak. I love the things and I try to bring more and more people into the fold. When I say, “Come over to the dark side” I’m talking about those wonderful berries. And the trees are pretty common. Many people have mulberry trees on their property (or a neighbor’s) and don’t even know it! It’s tragic! Okay. Maybe not tragic but it’s a waste of some really great berries that are free for the picking. There are multiple health benefits to eating mulberries or drinking mulberry leaf tea. Below is a pretty extensive list of them but if that kind of thing bores you just skip to the next post which is all recipes! Mulberry leaves contain calcium, iron and zinc. Mulberries also contains the antioxidants ascorbic acid and beta carotene. Antioxidants inhibit cellular damage caused by free radicals, which get created during food digestion and smoke and radiation exposure. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by increased blood glucose levels. According to a study published in “The American Journal of Chinese Medicine” in 2012, mulberry lowers blood glucose due to its gallic acid content. In a study published in “Diabetes Care” in 2007, this effect was shown in Type 2 diabetes patients. In the study, everyone in a diabetes group and a healthy control group received a sucrose drink, but some also got mulberry extract, while the others got a placebo. Blood glucose was tested beforehand and two, three and four hours after sucrose consumption. The results showed that taking mulberry significantly curbed glucose spikes in the first two hours after consumption. The scientists concluded that mulberry could be useful both in the treatment of diabetes and in its prevention. In a study published in 2013 in “BioMed Research International,” triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels were lowered significantly in patients given 280 grams of mulberry leaf powder three times daily for three months. A study published in 2010 in the “Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition” found similar results after giving participants 12 milligrams of mulberry leaf extract three times daily for three months. These studies suggest that regular heavy doses of this herb may be required to see significant results in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides. However, sipping some mulberry leaf tea regularly may help prevent high cholesterol. According to a study published in 2013 in the “Journal of Functional Foods,” mulberry leaf has been traditionally used to treat inflammation caused by chronic diseases, and the results of the study verify its anti-inflammatory effects. In vitro, scientists found mulberry leaf inhibits inflammatory agents in the body, cutting off the body’s inflammatory response. This effect was shown in rats in a study published in 2010 in “Phytotherapy Research.” Rats with induced paw edema were introduced to mulberry, which inhibited the formation of inflamed paw tissue. These studies suggest mulberry leaf tea could be used to help ease pain by reducing inflammation.

  • Delicious, fleshy, succulent mulberries are less in calories (just 43 calories per 100 g). They compose of health promoting phyto-nutrient compounds like polyphenol pigment antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
  • Mulberries have significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals called anthocyanins. Scientific studies have shown that consumption of berries have potential health effects against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections.
  • The berries contain resveratrol, another polyphenol flavonoid antioxidant. Resveratrol protects against stroke risk by altering molecular mechanisms in the blood vessels; reducing their susceptibility to damage through reduced activity of angiotensin (a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would elevate blood pressure) but potentiating production of the vasodilator hormone, nitric oxide.
  • In addition, these berries are an excellent sources of vitamin-C (36.4 mg per 100, about 61% of RDI), which is also a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents, counter inflammation and scavenge harmful free radicals.
  • Further, the berries also contain small amounts of vitamin A, and vitamin E, in addition to the above-mentioned antioxidants. Consumption of mulberry provides another group of health promoting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin, ß-carotene and a-carotene in small but notably significant amounts. Altogether, these compounds help act as protect from harmful effects of oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • Zea-xanthin, an important dietary carotenoid selectively concentrates into the retinal macula lutea, where it thought to provide antioxidant functions and protects the retina from the harmful ultraviolet rays through light-filtering actions.
  • Mulberries are an excellent source of iron, which is a rare feature among berries, contain 1.85 mg/100 g of fruits (about 23% of RDI). Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
  • They also good source of minerals like potassium, manganese, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • They are rich in B-complex group of vitamins and vitamin K. Contain very good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid. These vitamins are function as co-factors and help body in the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, and fats.

Mulberries coFully-ripe-and-mostly-ripeme in three varieties; white, pink, and red. I’m going to stick to the red in this post because it’s the kind I use for jam, pie, and sauce. I also have a white mulberry tree but I’m sticking with the black for now. A word of warning; mulberries stain. They stain hands, feet, clothing, and everything else the juice touches. Don’t wear anything you want to keep stain free when picking or cooking with mulberries! The stains will (eventually) come off skin but be prepared to have purple fingers (and maybe feet) for at least a few days. An important thing to note about unripe mulberries: they are poisonous/hallucinogens.  The leaves, when dried, are edible and dried mulberry leaves have been used to increase weight gain in lambs and goats. The Chinese have eaten the berries and used the leaves for teas for centuries. Just stay away from white and mostly white berries. You’ll not only hallucinate but your tummy will never forgive you! Picking mulberries isn’t really picking. The ripe berries fall to the ground and are perfectly safe to pick up for use as long as they aren’t falling on sprayed grass or next to a roadway where they’re subjected to lots of exhaust. On of the easiest ways to gather mulberries is to spread a sheet or tarp on the ground beneath the tree and shake the branches. The ripe berries fall right off the branch like manna from heaven. But for jam you will want to add a few that are still red instead of the deep black color of the very ripe berries. Shoot for about 1/4 red berries in the total mix. The slightly under-ripe berries will help your jam set up properly. In the next post I will give you my recipe for Mulberry Jam and also for Green Leaf Mulberry Tea.