Every heard of a Persian Mulberry?? I didn’t until about a month ago. I went to go worship at the church of the Farmer’s Market where I always walk away inspired and motivated to create. This trip was no exception.
One of my favorite farmers that keeps me stocked with baby pink potatoes and mini yellow carrots pulled out from behind him a small container holding these precious morsels. At room temperature these berries released their juices, flavors and scent. Bright red and deep purple hues match the intense sweetness.
When you taste one your mind will reminisce to summer childhood memories. I can only describe one as a cross between the juiciest cherry you’ve ever tasted blended with blackberries and black currants. Warm, juicy and sweet. I can only imagine that when my grandmother tells stories of hot English summer days, picking fresh berries in the forest this is what she has in mind. These are not your store-bought berries that never seem to ripen fully.
These berries are gaining great notoriety. Chefs already knew this. They have a very short growing season during the summer and are costly. About $10.00 a punnet. I had huge dreams and cooking aspirations for my first amount. However, they never made it home. I now had to wait a week to get my grubby little paws on another batch. My second attempt made it home but then I shared them with so many people I wanted to discover this berry that they never made it as an ingredient in a recipe.
This made me realize that these berries are perfect as they are. But it was a hot Friday afternoon. Sangria came to mind. Also in season? Plums, blackberries and lavender. This would not be your average sangria.
It’s August, it’s hot and it’s the weekend. Give these recipes a go. I recently did a sangria class with my good friend Gina from Venissimo cheese. We paired cheese tapas with Farmer’s market Fruit Sangria’s. What a blast. So I’m including the White Sangira Recipe as well. Obviously, Persian Mulberries are rare in areas and expensive. You can substitute blackberries and add a touch more sugar.
Lavender and Crushed Berry Sangria:
1 Bottle Pinot Noir
1 12oz bottle of ginger ale or sparkling fruit
2 Cups Blueberries
2 Cups Blackberries
½ Cup fresh Lavender (flowers only)
Special Secret Ingredient: Persian Mulberries
¼ to ½ Cup Agave Nectar
Farmers Market White Fruit Sangria:
2 White Peaches, Pit removed and diced into small sections
3 White Apricots, same as above
1 Nectarine, same as above
1 Pluot (from the plum family but white skinned)
1 Bottle of Sparkling Wine
1 Bottle Sauvignon Blanc White Wine
¼ to ½ Cup Agave Nectar
Sangria Directions. It’s really This easy!
1) Mash all fruits slightly with the back of a large spoon to release.
2) Place in a large container or pitcher.
3) Add wine and sugar. Let sit overnight.
4) Top off with sparking soda or wine.
My Tips for making Sangria:
*Use only fresh seasonal fruits. You can adapt any sangria recipe for what is freshly available.
* Use a good quality wine. One you would drink without ending up in a sangria recipe. Fruit and additions do not mask bad wine! Plus, you’ll get a headache!
*Fresh, seasonal fruit has a higher sugar content so you don’t need to add as much processed sugar.
*I recommend using agave nectar (available in most stores. It comes from the agave plant in Mexico, the same regions where tequila is produced) instead of sugar. It is 1 ½ times sweeter than sugar but it does not spike your blood sugar level. It also dissolves quickly in liquids.
*Soak the fruit, wine and sugar overnight for a rich infused flavor. Add the soda, ginger ale or sparkling wine just before serving.
All recipes © Laura Dove