However, mulberries are still a great source of nutrients and antioxidants and yes- they are free. Many mulberries are a little bland, so I prefer to mix them with other berries or use them in baked goods like blueberries; for example, mulberry muffins. I have also made pie filling and syrup with these beautifully colored berries.
Some people have had success spreading an old bed sheet under the tree, and then shaking the branches until all the ripe berries fall off onto the sheet. I tried this last year, with mixed results. I did get more berries in less time, but I also got a bunch of green berries, twigs and other debris that needed to be removed. About half of the ripe berries landed on my sheet, and the other half bounced off into the grass. For this reason, I keep picking each berry by hand. It takes time, but so does picking out debris. My mom has had success with just leaving the sheets on the ground, and the berries drop on their own, without shaking. This way you have less debris to pick through, and it's less work. Just be sure to weigh the sheet down with a rock if it is a windy day. I don't bother removing the mulberry stem. It is already enough work to go and pick the berries, let alone de-stem every single one of them. After picking, I soak the mulberries in water to drown/scare away the bugs, and then freeze the berries.
Other Uses for Mulberries
One of my other articles mentions using mulberries as a kind of permaculture chicken feed. The berries are high in nutrients and plentiful. The trees also provide shade for chickens. Mulberry leaf tea is said to help stabilize blood sugar.
Do you have mulberry trees? What do you use them for?