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Andrea

Elderberries!

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My elderberry plants which I grew from seed a few years ago (they are not native to my area), are growing like MAD! I'm actually getting quantities of berries that I can do things with now! :bounce:

 

So, in my research, I thought I'd post some of the more useful links I've found here and then come back and give reviews of some of the recipes/techniques I try!

 

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/elderberry-recipes-zmaz73jazraw.aspx?PageId=2#ArticleContent

http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/FN_252.pdf

http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/homemade-cough-syrup-zbcz1311.aspx#axzz35mSsG2yr

 

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Found these links in answer to your Shoutbox question -

 

preserving elderberries for health benefits (search)

http://www.dogpile.com/info.dogpl/search/web?fcoid=417&fcop=topnav&fpid=27&q=preserving+elderberries+for+health+benefits&ql=

 

How to Preserve Elderberry Juice

http://www.ehow.com/how_8399423_preserve-elderberry-juice.html

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They do grow wild around here but I started some from cuttings in my yard also. I make jelly and syrup mostly. Syrup for flu, etc. I make a map so I remember where the largest areas of berries are. Once they lose the flower, they are hard to see.

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I AM BEAT. The last batch of berries are in the dehydrator. This should give me about 4 cups of dried (stemless) berries which will make 8 batches of sambucol-like syrup, or if I'm lazy, I can just throw them in with my herbal tea. I also made 9 1/2 pints of jam, and I have enough juice in the fridge for two batches of elderberry jelly (14 1/2 pints). I'll throw that together tomorrow but I've already sterilized the jars and cleaned the kitchen so I just need to get up and get it done!

 

For a while, it looked like I had dissected Barney in my kitchen. There was purple juice everywhere!

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Fortunately the purple stuff washes up nicely. I'm delighted to say I had my own 'barney carnage'; my brother brought me a good-size box (3 cubic feet) of elderberries, which after some hours removing stems, provided me with 2 gallons of berries. The dehydrator is full, I have a gallon in the freezer, and will probably dehydrate the rest tomorrow (or whenever the first batch is dried down). He says there are two more bushes that have not ripened yet, but he did not know if he would have the time to pick me any. I told him I'd go get some more if it was OK with him, just let me know when they are ripe! I also promised him and his wife a bottle of home-made elderberry schnapps in thanks for the generosity. I love elderberries, they are well worth the work. Hopefully the cuttings he promised me will grow nicely next spring...Now I have to go pick crab-apples and can up some pectin, for adding to the elderberry juice for jelly later.

 

Homemade Elderberry Schnapps

7-8 c elderberry juice

5 cups 80 proof alcohol or any liquor of choice (vodka)

4 cups sugar

2 1/2 c water

1/4 tsp almond extract

juice of 1 1/2 lemons

1 TB salt

Wash & stem elderberries (you can freeze them if you don't have enough at one time). Run them through the blender, and in a stock pot bring the berry juice to a rolling boil. Boil three minutes, remove from heat and let cool 2-3 hours. Strain through a new clean dishtowel, cheesecloth lined colander, or a jelly bag, squeezing for maximum juice. In another pot, combine the sugar, salt, lemon juice and water, and boil to make a syrup. Keep at a rolling boil for 5 min. Add juice, let it cool. In clean sterilized bucket, mix all ingredients with the alcohol. Stir, cover with a lid, set aside in dark cool place for about 4 weeks, stirring daily.

When 4 weeks have passed, pour into a sterilized bottle, cork and label (an old wine bottle will work, buy a cork and boil it to sterilize it just like the bottle). Age another 3-4 months for optimum flavor. Will keep for years, but usually gets consumed in one year or less!

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Fortunately the purple stuff washes up nicely. I'm delighted to say I had my own 'barney carnage'; my brother brought me a good-size box (3 cubic feet) of elderberries, which after some hours removing stems, provided me with 2 gallons of berries. The dehydrator is full, I have a gallon in the freezer, and will probably dehydrate the rest tomorrow (or whenever the first batch is dried down). He says there are two more bushes that have not ripened yet, but he did not know if he would have the time to pick me any. I told him I'd go get some more if it was OK with him, just let me know when they are ripe! I also promised him and his wife a bottle of home-made elderberry schnapps in thanks for the generosity. I love elderberries, they are well worth the work. Hopefully the cuttings he promised me will grow nicely next spring...Now I have to go pick crab-apples and can up some pectin, for adding to the elderberry juice for jelly later.

 

Homemade Elderberry Schnapps

7-8 c elderberry juice

5 cups 80 proof alcohol or any liquor of choice (vodka)

4 cups sugar

2 1/2 c water

1/4 tsp almond extract

juice of 1 1/2 lemons

1 TB salt

Wash & stem elderberries (you can freeze them if you don't have enough at one time). Run them through the blender, and in a stock pot bring the berry juice to a rolling boil. Boil three minutes, remove from heat and let cool 2-3 hours. Strain through a new clean dishtowel, cheesecloth lined colander, or a jelly bag, squeezing for maximum juice. In another pot, combine the sugar, salt, lemon juice and water, and boil to make a syrup. Keep at a rolling boil for 5 min. Add juice, let it cool. In clean sterilized bucket, mix all ingredients with the alcohol. Stir, cover with a lid, set aside in dark cool place for about 4 weeks, stirring daily.

When 4 weeks have passed, pour into a sterilized bottle, cork and label (an old wine bottle will work, buy a cork and boil it to sterilize it just like the bottle). Age another 3-4 months for optimum flavor. Will keep for years, but usually gets consumed in one year or less!

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Elderberries ripen in July here. They used to be one of my favorite parts of that month. :)

 

Don't forget you can throw a handful of frozen elderberries into a cherry or blueberry pie to round out the nutrient profile a little more. I love thinking of pie as health food.

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I was happy to score more elderberries - another 3 quarts once I picked them off the stems. In the freezer now, awaiting their 'final disposition' once I can up the piles of tomatoes; peel, shred and freeze the zucchini for Christmas zucchini bread; dice & freeze the green pepeppers that are coming on thick & fast; pack the 20 lbs of chicken we bought at 89 cents a pound; and clean the fish we caught the other night. I'm putting food up like crazy, concerned over food prices what with the drought & all....

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How do you tell when elderberries are ripe? I have a friend who has some bushes, but will need to go pick them. I don't know how many I'll get from there, so does anybody know the amount of dried elderberries/water I would replace the fresh with in a recipe?

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They're black and soft. Not all the berries from one flower ripen at the same time. The ripe ones fall easily from the little stemmies while the unripe ones cling a bit harder. Pick a panicle at a time and don't worry which are ripe until you're picking off the stems.

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Thinkin' maybe we'd better be on the lookout for these :-) We had a large stand of "something" on one of the fence lines at the Roost...may have chopped them down :-( There's still a big bush of "something" but didn't see anything like fruit. Most of what we cut was Polk, but now wondering if some elderberry bushes were there being over-run by the Polk. I'm a novice on elderberry bushes.

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