Greedy among the flowers — and fruit.


Who can explain why we love it—West Lake is good.
The beautiful scene is without time,
Flying canopies chase each other,
Greedy to be among the flowers, drunk, with a jade cup.

Who can know I’m idle here, leaning on the rail.
Fragrant grass in slanting rays,
Fine mist on distant water,
One white egret flying from the Immortal Isle.

-Ouyang Xiu,  (1007 – 1072) China

I get the impression that this outing to West Lake is primarily a chance to get away from work. The poet enjoys being idle, and maybe he and his friends just happen to find mulberries to pick while they are enjoying their drink and exulting in the beauty of the day.

In any case, even the title of the poem is not about eating the mulberries — but the fruit itself is on my mind since I recently discovered dried white mulberries in the market, from Turkey. They are unlike any dried fruit I’ve ever eaten. Their extreme sweetness leads people to say that the flavor is honey-like; the chewiness of them is what I love most.

I read that nearly every village in Anatolia grows them, and the growers also make mulberry syrup, which I’d like to try as well. So I offer some photos that I found online. I also ran across a post, “White Mulberries,” from a  Turkish blog, and it contains the kind of information that is most interesting to me.

The site Tropical Fruit Trees shows photos of several varieties of Mulberry, by which I was able to see that the ones I’ve eaten dried are the “Persian White” type. They are the most cold hardy and grow in USDA zones 3b through 9. If I had twice as much land as I do, I would surely want to plant one of these trees. They attract birds, and produce lots of fruit, which means, plenty to dry. The leaves are not only the best food for silkworms, but make good livestock feed as well. Maybe one of my readers will be inspired to plant a Persian White!

9 thoughts on “Greedy among the flowers — and fruit.

  1. This is fascinating for I have not come across dried mulberries before! I grew up with purple mulberries which we would consume in great quantities during the fruiting season: our mouths and hands (and clothes!) stained purple. A single white mulberry tree grew next to our farmhouse: the large, fat fruit tasted wonderful – juicy and sweet.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A large purple mulberry tree dominated the garden on Shoreline Highway. When we would
    take our girls to see my father and his wife in the-mulberries-are -ripe -season much attention was required to not track any of the deep juicy color onto the floors or carpets of the house. My father made mulberry wine which he fermented in the earthen basement underneath the house.

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  3. My husband is standing here as I read it aloud, caught by my mention of dried fruit, which he loves, as well as by the tree itself, him having owned a garden center for years when we were younger. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ever comes across a white mulberry in a nursery now that it will come home with him because his tree planting days will never end as long as he can hold a shovel. I do imagine that our regular herds of deer visiting would be very tempted by the leaves, don’t you think?
    I’m astounded by the age of the poem and love the “flying canopies”!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. How I would love to be in Turkey, listening, smelling, joining in picking the mulberries and being part of the hustle and bustle.
    Thank you Gretchen for sharing both poetics verbal pictures and actual photos.
    You continue to whet my appetite for something more than my work a day life.
    Your blog is a breath of fresh air, a cool drink of clear water and a relaxing interlude to my day
    Dear Heart. 💜

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I knew nothing of white mulberries, or of dried ones, for that matter. I’ve never eaten mulberries of any sort, but I do know when they ripen. The birds leave their announcement of the season on all of the white fiberglass of the boats I work on!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I grew up a city kid, though we spent considerable amounts of time in the country. Even so, with all the talk about mulberries, I feel like I missed a lot of the rhythm of fruits by season and such.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The same here, Jeanie. I still have no experience of the plant. I noticed online that fruitless mulberry trees have been popular — seems like a typical modern thing, to want to avoid the trouble and mess of growing and harvesting and stains on the carpet. Easier to just buy one’s fruit from the store as needed. 😉


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