Throughout the many villages of Myzeqeja in central western Albania, including the areas of Kryevidh, Divjaka and Ardenica, ripe mulberries are harvested during the month of June. In order to prepare pekmez (a kind of syrup), the fruits should be fully ripened and not dry or damaged by insects. The best fruits are selected to prepare the pekmez, which are then squeezed to separate the juice from the pulp. This juice is then boiled at a low temperature and stirred occasionally. A bit of lemon juice is also added. The secret to a high quality pekmez is in knowing when to end the boiling process. This occurs when the juice becomes dense and difficult to stir. Then, the mixture is left to cool and put in jars that can be conserved in a cool place.
Mulberry pekmez has long been produced by families in the Myzeqeja area, and traditionally served at breakfast accompanied with bread and butter. The pekmez would often be dissolved with water due to its high level of sweetness. It is not a product that has been commercially sold or traded, and today even the tradition of making it in the home is dying out. This product is at risk of extinction because the local mulberry trees have been damaged by several diseases and pests. The area’s aging population and rural-to-urban migration have reduced the capacity of local farmers to restore these local mulberry trees.