Mulberry drink (Sharab el-toot)

July 19, 2013  •  Category:


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. 


NOTE: This traditional mulberry syrup is no longer sold or exported; it has been replaced by blackberry syrup.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. 



24 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Michelle Trudy Holtz says:

    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 says:

    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. Paula Mello says:

    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 🙂

    • Joumana says:

      @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!

  4. Rosa says:

    Wonderful! What a great fruit.



  5. Jessica says:

    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?

  6. Belinda @zomppa says:

    We all need a cool drink in this heat!

  7. Kathleen Scavone says:

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

  8. Banana Wonder says:

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

  9. twbarritt says:

    A delicious drink, straight from the garden!

  10. Susan says:

    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?

  11. zerrin says:

    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.

  12. Ozlem's Turkish Tabl says:

    What a lovely looking refreshing drink, must have a go sometime, thank you for sharing 😉

  13. romeo says:

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

  14. Jamie says:

    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?

    • Joumana says:

      @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!

  15. domi says:

    Je suis assez ” mûres ” pour y goûter….

  16. sue woods says:

    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.:)

  17. Kim says:

    Crush an unripe or white mulberry in your hands to take the purple pigment away. Enjoy and thank you for sharing.

  18. Elana says:

    Hello, and thank you for sharing your drink recipe. I bought some mulberry syrup online. It is 100% mulberry with nothing added. It is very thick, like a dark paste. To me it tastes nothing like fresh mulberries. Instead it has the flavor of prunes, and when I drink it in water it reminds me of a dilute prune juice. I am wondering if this is how the mulberry syrup is supposed to taste? I have never tried it before, so have nothing else to compare it to. Thanks!

  19. Mike says:

    Mulberries can be male or female. A male tree will never set fruit- unless it becomes a female spontaneously which can happen! That’s why your mulberry hasn’t (or hadn’t) set fruit.

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