Identifying mulberry vs. blackberry might be a struggle for some. When it comes to berries, mulberries and blackberries are two berries that often get confused for one another.
They more or less have the same taste and look. For this reason, you can substitute blackberries for mulberries and vice-versa without noticing the difference.
Though they may look similar, these two fruits are actually quite different. Here’s a look at the key differences between mulberries and blackberries so you can tell them apart the next time you see them.
The mulberry family is from the Moraceae family, which contains over 1,000 species. The mulberry genus (Morus) has 10–16 species. They are native to warm temperate and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Mulberries are a type of fruit that can be eaten fresh, cooked, or dried. Before eating fresh mulberries, you need to make sure they are ripe.
They have a sweet taste and are often used in pies, jams, and other desserts. Mulberries are also a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Mulberry’s taste is a cross between being sweet and tart flavor. They can also sometimes come with a hint of woody cedar and baking spices.
A mulberry looks similar to an elongated blackberry when mature. Mulberries can be black, deep purple, white, or red when ripe, depending on the variety.
These deeply-colored fruits are fragile, aromatic, and syrupy. A ripe mulberry has a balanced flavor, while white mulberries taste sweet and bland. The black mulberry fruits are the sweetest and juiciest.
They also have a mild tart flavor that contrasts with their natural sweetness—the lighter the mulberry, the flatter the taste, and the less the tartness.
Blackberry is a perennial plant that is a member of the Rubus genus within the Rosaceae family. Blackberries grow wild and thrive on bushes with thorns. If you think you see blackberries growing on a tree, most likely you see a mulberry tree.
The blackberry bramble comes back every year, so blackberry bushes can overrun your garden if you do not prune them. To control their growth, you can install a trellis so the blackberry plants will not cover most of your garden and surrounding trees.
Blackberry fruits are not technically considered berries but aggregate fruits because they develop from multiple flowers instead of a single flower. They are often used in many recipes, especially in baking and desserts such as ice creams, jam, cobblers, and pies.
They have a sweet-tart taste with earthy undertones that become sweet as they ripen. They are also juicy, succulent, and soft.
Fine and almost invisible hairs hold the blackberries together. Instead of a hollow center, they have a solid, white, edible core. Ripe blackberries are shiny and have purple highlights.
Each blackberry is typically ½ to 1 inch in diameter and 1 inch long. The fruit changes its color several times throughout its lifespan. In the beginning, it is green. It turns red and dark purple to almost black when it ripens.
Blackberries and mulberries come with a multitude of health benefits. They contain many nutrients that are good for your body.
Health Benefits of Mulberries
One cup serving of mulberry fruits contains about 60 calories.
Mulberries also contain reasonable amounts of iron, beta-carotene, manganese, potassium, folic acid, and vitamins A, C, K, and B-complex, making them a great addition to your diet.
Mulberry leaves also have antioxidants and vitamins. It is not common to eat mulberry leaves as is, but they are suitable for teas.
Health Benefits of Blackberries
Blackberries are delicious and an excellent addition to your diet because they contain loads of essential nutrients, and fibers.
A serving of 100 grams of blackberries constitutes 35% of the Vitamin C recommended daily allowance and 14% of the fiber. This fruit of the blackberry plant also contains high levels of antioxidants.
Dried blackberry leaves can also be used to make tea.
Although similar in many aspects, mulberry and blackberry are not the same.
Origin and Growth
Mulberries are made up of many small fruits that have fused together. On the other hand, blackberries are composed of drupelets, which are tiny individual fruits.
When it comes to taste, mulberries are often described as being sweet with a slight tartness. Blackberries, on the other hand, are generally tart with a touch of sweetness.
Mulberries are also much softer than blackberries. This is due to the fact that mulberries have a lower percentage of pectin, which is a type of fiber that helps to give fruits their structure.
In terms of nutrition, both mulberries and blackberries are good sources of vitamins and antioxidants. However, mulberries contain more vitamin C than blackberries. Mulberries also have a higher fiber content than blackberries.
Origin and Growth
You can find mulberries in Asian countries, while blackberries are native to Europe and North America. Thus, mulberries are scarce and more expensive in the US, while blackberries are commonly available and are far cheaper.
Mulberries grow on trees, while blackberries grow from thorny bushes. Mulberry trees can grow to 20 to 50 feet tall, whereas blackberry shrubs can only be 3 to 4 feet wide and tall.
Mulberry trees yield so many fruits that you may not be able to pick all the fruits before they fall off the tree. You can install a catch basin under the tree to catch the falling fruits before they can stain the ground.
A blackberry bush produces fewer fruits compared to a mulberry tree. They also mature slower than mulberries.
Mulberries are available from June to August, while blackberries are available from August to September.
Mulberries come in an oval shape and are larger than round-shaped blackberries. Mulberries are red to dark purple; blackberries are dark purple to black.
When not quite ripe, black mulberries tend to look similar to long black raspberries. As they mature, they turn darker and look identical to elongated blackberries.
Mulberries are also about the same width as blackberries but almost twice as long. Blackberries also appear shinier than blackberries.
Taste and smell
The taste and smell of mulberry vs. blackberry may impact your dish. While both have sweet and tart flavors, there is a slight difference in their overall flavors.
When you first consume blackberries, they have a tangy flavor that turns juicy to super sweet. They also come with earthy tones not present in mulberries.
Both blackberries and mulberries have a fruity smell. However, the scent of mulberries is, to some extent, between blackberries and grapes. The smell of blackberries is more on the floral and mucky side.
Mulberries are not standalone fruits. They are better when paired with other fruits. When preparing a recipe with mulberries, add other ingredients to enhance its flavors.
On the other hand, blackberries are highly flavorful, so you do not need other ingredients to bring out their taste.
When eating mulberry, the color of the fruit spreads over your mouth. Mulberries can also cause staining when they come into contact with your skin and clothes.
Blackberries do not cause staining. So if you’d like an easy way to tell between blackberries vs. mulberries, pay attention to the stain or its absence.
Albeit different in many ways, mulberry and blackberry are similar in some aspects.
Mulberry and blackberry are different fruits. They may appear similar, but mulberries are oval, over 2 inches long, and are dark purple when ripe, while blackberries are round, about 1 inch long, and almost black.
Mulberries are sweeter and tangier than blackberries. Blackberries also have earthy tones while mulberries do not have.
Blackberries start with a little tart but turn sweet as they mature. The solid core of the fruit adds a woody taste and an earthy tone.
When it comes to differentiating mulberry vs. blackberry, a close look at these fruits reveals differences in many ways. Mulberries and blackberries are different in shape, color, and size.
The best way to tell if you have a mulberry or a blackberry is to squeeze the fruit between your fingers. The mulberry fruit will stain your fingers, whereas the blackberry fruit will not.
You can use mulberry and blackberry interchangeably in your recipes. Although they are not exact replicas, your recipe will have the same taste.