A Little Travel Memory … Foraging for Your Food, Mulberry Style

Spotting a huge mulberry tree on the side of the road after hours (okay, barely two hours really) of biking uphill read like salvation – like a thirsty man in the desert spotting a mirage this seemed too good to be true. It was hot, I was sick and forced to pull over frequently during the bike ride and the last steep hike to the top of the Bribirska Glavica archaeological ruins outside of Krka National Park in Croatia were just no longer worth the exertion. At least not when the alternative was foraging for perfectly ripened berries on a towering mulberry tree offering sweet treats, shade, and more importantly an excuse to stay behind while my two traveling companions hiked the last 20 minutes.

So Juicy and Delicious

Juicy and delicious mulberries fresh from the tree in rural Croatia.

I can’t begin to tell you about the archaeological site but I can share that mulberries are softer than a blackberry (though that’s what they most closely resemble) and about ten times as naturally sweet. No tart puckering no matter how under-ripe and just picking a berry softly from the tree sends the sticky purple stains running down your fingers!

Quick Travel Tips: Picking Berries (and other fruit from the side of the road)

Is it safe?: Depends on what you’re eating! But it can be great fun on a bike ride or hike to forage for berries as a break if you spot some on the side of the road…just beware of other people’s property, pesticides, and that they’re edible!
How do you know? Ask a local. Our guide hiking in the Himalayas pointed out a delightfully mild orange berry – once I knew they were edible I stopped to pick them whenever I needed a break.
When in doubt: Don’t eat it. The mulberries were pretty obvious but err on the side of caution if you can’t actually identify the food.

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10 Responses to A Little Travel Memory … Foraging for Your Food, Mulberry Style

  1. DavenDeb August 28, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    I have never had a mulberry before either. I love that you were in the moment and had fun and said…”forget about the ruins, I'm eating mulberries:-) That is what life and travel is all about, enjoy the moment.

    • ShannonOD August 29, 2010 at 2:04 am #

      Put them on your “to-try” list! :-) They're tasty and apparently good for
      you blood according to Andi :-) Travel is truly made better by finding
      those little fun moments and going with the change of plans, one of the more
      important lessons the Type A side of my personality has learned!

  2. Mary R August 27, 2010 at 5:27 am #

    I've never eaten a mulberry before, though I see recipes for jam and cakes and muffins all the time. How adventurous you are to go riding and picking. It's always nice to have a little food reward for exercise, I always say…

    • ShannonOD August 27, 2010 at 11:04 am #

      They are really quite a sweet berry, but worth a try if you can hunt some
      down…I have never really seen very many mulberry trees, just Croatia and
      Laos, but they must be around! As for the rewarding exercise, I am so with
      you on that!

  3. Jennifer Barry August 25, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    I never knew what a mulberry looked like before! Going by GlobalButterfly's tip, I see they are traditionally used as a blood tonic for weakness and fatigue. I guess that's exactly what you needed. :)

    • ShannonOD August 27, 2010 at 10:58 am #

      I didn't know that they were used as a blood tonic – now I am doubly glad
      that I decided to snack on them instead of continuing on – it really was the
      perfect stop for me at the time. Now we know to hunt down mulberries when we
      are feeling fatigued – Laos had a lot of mulberry trees too, so they're

  4. Emily August 25, 2010 at 2:54 am #

    Cute pic! That sounds like a fun break from your bike ride. Though yeah, I've always been afraid to eat berries that I can't easily identify–it would be horrible to accidentally eat a poisonous berry! That's a sure way to ruin a great trip.

    • ShannonOD August 27, 2010 at 10:58 am #

      Thanks! It was an excellent reason to just bail out on the bike ride and
      relax in the shade. I was with my cousin at the time and she is a berry
      picking expert (she's from the Pacific NW…where they have a lot more
      berries than Florida) so we ate the berries on her expertise, otherwise I
      would have been much more cautious!

  5. Andi August 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Ummm I love mulberries! They are a great Chinese medicinal herb that I use with my patients all the time. :)

    • ShannonOD August 27, 2010 at 10:56 am #

      That's awesome, I actually did not know that they had so many medicinal
      properties until I just looked it up! Now I'm glad I ate so many! :-)

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