Elderberry Season is on us!

O Elderberries, those amazing fruits of the Elder Bush, while they are not safe to eat raw, the dried or cooked berry or juice is amazing for our health. One of the things I have heard time an again is that it takes forever to pick the tiny berries off the stems.

One of the best ways to do it by hand it to freeze the berries first and then rub them off while still frozen and cold, then they can be processed and or easily bagged up for the freezer again for use in future baking, drinks and so forth.

You can of course also dry them, they will cost you a pretty penny to buy a small bag of dried berries, which makes sense because it takes a ton of them once dried down to make up that 6 oz but they add amazing color and flavour to winter teas.

However I don’t typically process smaller amounts, I tend to process 50 to 100 pounds worth of them and I do freeze some because even I at times need to do them later in the winter when I have time as long as I have room in the freezer but when I want to do them fast, the video above while not the best quality will show you how I do it.

I made this wee video on the fly, as in I was talking to hubby while working away and he said, you should put that up and so we took it, it’s real life, the table is covered, and so forth. Maybe someday I will make a pretty version of this but for now.. real it is..

What is your favorite way to use Elderberries?

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15 Responses to Elderberry Season is on us!

  1. WolfSong says:

    Elderberries is something I want to add to our Farm.
    I really want to make elderberry wine, but just can’t justify paying for the berries.
    Just have to figure out where on the land to plant the bushes. 🙂

    • Hi Wolf Song, So do Elderberries grow wild in your area, if so, check out the black berries and try a few different bushes because they do each have their own flavour. If you are buying bushes, buy at least two because while they are self doing, they will produce so many more berries if they sit together or close by. The good news is that they make new bushes easily by suckering or by putting your spring prunings in water for roots and then into pots and into the ground within a year. so two bushes will give you as many as you want within three to five years.

      I find they like it on the edge of a swell, they will live very happy on the edge where they can take advantage root wise to have it damp often but they don’t like to sit in the damp (they will do ok in the dry and the damp) but my best producers are just on the rise up from gentle swells and root down into the bottom.

      They do like to be well feed something most books don’t talk about, but they like their compost and will show you it in returns and yields and the bushes ideally require yearly pruning for the best growth, air flow and yields. but its quick and easy to do in the spring.

    • J > Elder is shallow-rooted. Edge of damp area (or on bank above a Swale or ditch or stream) is perfect, but ground mustn’t be waterlogged. Not heavy clay – better is a sandy soil or well-drained loam. Good quality soil, plenty of moisture are both required for the best flowers, and then the best fruit. Also protection from drying winds. In the UK, Elders are most often found in hedgerows, and are good at finding the right niche. Birds love the berries, so sit in the branches of adjacent bushes and trees after eating fruit, and so ensure that the fruit spreads along the hedge.

  2. I’m reading this on the WP app on my phone and wondering if there’s a link embedded on here somewhere and I’m just not seeing it FG? No photos either, just text… Will go back over to the browser for a peek; )

  3. Widdershins says:

    Love the video … it’s a bit dark but I can still see what you’re doing. 😀 … keep ’em coming. 🙂

  4. bluestempond says:

    My mother and aunt always made elderberry pie. It was good but so full of seeds and purple stain that I haven’t been motivated to do it for myself. Besides that, it is hard to catch that slim time slot where the berries are ripe enough and the birds have not stolen them all.

    • I am not fond of eating them in a pie myself, I prefer them dried for tea’s, dried and used in baking and I make a huge amount of juice and syrup with them

      I hear you on the birds loving them, it is a race to see who get the bushes in the food forest garden area but the yard bushes are protected by the farm cats and so they are always a known producer

  5. Cricket says:

    I love elderberry jelly and syrup. The syrup is tasty but also wonderful for treating colds and flus. Living in VT and western NY, I was familiar with elders being shrubby bushes but in southern Oregon, I have seen fields of trees! It really was startling to see them like that instead of hedgerows and near creeks and ditches. I have never seen that method for stripping the berries from the stems. That is going to save me so much time and effort. Thank you!

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