Mulberry drink (Sharab el-toot)

toot drink

In the mountains, the rules are different; barter, for instance, is still practiced. Our mulberry tree mysteriously refused to give us any fruit for ten years on; our neighbor has the tree that keeps on giving; we help ourselves and she gets our peaches and eggplants (and cucumbers, etc).

Her mother, an energetic 89-year-old, climbs the tree herself and makes the family’s traditional mulberry syrup or sharab el-toot. She wanted to give me a few pointers: ” keep the red ones in the batch, they will supply a little tanginess”. 

True, picking berries is messy. I did not wear gloves and after 10 minutes I looked like I had just slaughtered a huge pig. Never mind, a rinse will get rid of all that juicy redness. Think of the advantages: A delicious, high-fiber drink, anytime you want. Making the mulberry syrup is easy and rather quick. Salah picks mulberries

Here is the method: Quickly rinse the berries and throw the lot (in batches) in the food processor; purée, transfer to a sieve and collect the juice (keep the rest to make jam with). Measure the juice and transfer to a large pot preferably stainless steel. Add double the amount of sugar (if you get a quart of juice, get 2 of sugar). Stir over medium heat, skim off the froth if you get any. After 10 minutes, the liquid should turn to syrup. 

To sterilize bottles: boil in water for 5 minutes and air-dry. 

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NOTE: This traditional mulberry syrup is no longer sold or exported; it has been replaced by blackberry syrup. I have not tried this method with blackberries, but since they are readily available in the US, I would be willing to give it a try.

To use mulberry syrup: Pour 3 tablespoons in a glass; add 6 oz of water and stir. Drink cold. Offer to all the people that drop by for an impromptu visit. 

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18 Comments

  1. Posted July 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm, be have mulberry trees here too, but we generally don’t eat off them. We just curse at ourselves when we find we have parked under one and have a cluster of birds hanging out over top our cars.

    But I would love to climb up and get some! I don’t think anyone would mind. Except the birds.

  2. Mark Wisecarver
    Posted July 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Mmmmmm delicious.
    I was growing this on our farm, close to the Grape orchards, and even kept one of my trucks parked under one of the large trees, also built a building for the bikes under them, the red mulberry trees shade and decorate everything! :)
    They grow very well in Tennessee, and apparently Henry Ford brought a bunch of the white berry trees to Michigan, because the Silk worms love them.

  3. Posted July 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I have one of this amazing trees in my backyard, it’s amazing! I have 2 even 3 harvests per year. I guess the secret is to love our trees, always :)

  4. Joumana
    Posted July 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    @Paula: you are right, nature too needs to be loved!

    @Mark, sounds fantastic! yes, the silk worms love them and they did allow a lot of lebanese folks to make a living way back when.

    @Michelle: haha, you’re right, the birds do love them!

    @Jessica: mulberries have an intense berry flavor which is no acidity, it is almost like eating chocolate

    @`kathleen`; Great idea! thanks so much for sharing it :)

    @Romeo: Thanks for the explanation! I will look into it!

    @Zerrin: I like this method! Wish we could do have done it! :)

    @Susan: I need to investigate; when I asked nobody could give me an answer!

  5. Posted July 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful! What a great fruit.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  6. Posted July 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I’ve only ever had dried mullberries (mulberry trees aren’t hardy enough to grow where I live). Is there an easy way to describe the flavour?

  7. Posted July 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    We all need a cool drink in this heat!

  8. Kathleen Scavone
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    I use the dish washer to sterilize the jars and lids just use the heated dry setting.

  9. Posted July 20, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Mmmm looks so refreshing! I need to find some mulberries and make this.

  10. Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    A delicious drink, straight from the garden!

  11. Posted July 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I love the old traditions! What a wonderful and refreshing way to use Mulberries. I wonder if there are male and female Mulberry tree types and only one produces fruit?

  12. Posted July 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    A wonderful drink for summer! We have a similar syrup made with sour cherries and it’s perfect for unexpected guests! Didn’t know that it could be made with mulberries too. As for picking mulberries, I remember that my grandparents would spread a large tablecloth under the tree, a child(sometimes me) would climb and shake the branches so that the berries fell down on the cloth. I guess it’s an easier way.

  13. Posted July 23, 2013 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    What a lovely looking refreshing drink, must have a go sometime, thank you for sharing ;)
    Ozlem

  14. romeo
    Posted July 23, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    If your mulberry tree refuses to give fruit, it may be a male!

    http://www.gardenguides.com/104541-tell-mulberry-tree-male-female.html

  15. Posted July 25, 2013 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Very cool! Don’t think I’ve ever seen or tasted a mulberry but I would love to try the syrup. It must be like grenadine… Gorgeous color! And I’ll bet there are so many great things you could use it for… over ice cream?

  16. Joumana
    Posted July 27, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    @Jamie: You are right, so many things; here however, it is traditional to serve it as a courtesy drink. I can see it as a topping for cheesecake, personally!

  17. Posted August 1, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Je suis assez ” mûres ” pour y goûter….

  18. sue woods
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I do know that you have to have more than one tree as they are male and female trees and do not self fertilize. I have 3 and found that two have berries and the other must be the male.:)

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