The Elderberry


The Elderberry has been around, wild in fence rows or cultivated for many years and have long been used for many different types of things such as wine, pies and jam. It is not recommended to eat them raw.  Some varieties of elderberries are not meant for consumption and none should be eaten raw, especially the leaves. Remove all of the hard, woody stems as well before cooking.  Added to apples to makes a pretty purple coloured apple sauce, in a crumble, baked in muffins, they are extremely healthy and full of antioxidants.


This gorgeous syrup is great in a glass of sparkling water over ice, drizzled over plain yogurt or crème fraîche, or a bowl of vanilla ice cream.  Taste buds will find heaven when it comes to pancakes and waffles!

Make sure the cookware you’re using is non-reactive and your clothes are stain-friendly. If you use an aluminum pot, it’ll get stained and the next batch of mashed potatoes you make may come out pink. Ditto for spatulas and anything else to plan to use to stir the syrup while it’s cooking.

  • 1/2-pound elderberries, woody stems removed and rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • ½  cup sugar
  • one squirt of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put the elderberries in a large, non-reactive pot with the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low boil and cook for 10 to 15  minutes, until tender and soft.

Pass through a food mill or sieve, then discard the skins.

Pour the juice back into the pot using a fine-mesh strainer, add sugar, and cook at a low boil over moderate heat for 15 minutes, until the syrup has thickened. Add a spritz of lemon juice. Cool completely.

Pour into a bottle or jar and store in the refrigerator.


This recipe produces a warm, rich liqueur that will remind you of a Port wine. Elderberries are in many ways little grapes, with a similar aroma, bloom on the skin and color; they even have little seeds inside. 

Prep Time: 30 days

  • 1/2 pint fresh elderberries
  • 1/2 quart vodka
  • 2 one-inch pieces of lemon rind, white pith removed
  • Sugar

Put elderberries into a quart Mason jar and pour over the vodka. Add the lemon rind (make sure the rind has no white pith, as it is bitter.) Seal and put in a dark cupboard for at least a month, or up to 6 months.

The alcohol will extract flavor from the elderberries over time, so the longer you let it sit, the darker it will get.

When it is the color you want – anything from a Pinot Noir color to downright black — pour the vodka through a strainer lined with cheesecloth into another jar and add sugar. At least 1/4 cup, but to your taste. Shake to combine and put back in the cupboard.

After a few days or weeks, the sugar will completely dissolve and the elderberry liqueur is ready to drink. It keeps forever.

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4 Responses to The Elderberry

  1. Pingback: American Elderberry | Landscaping - Gardening

  2. Joanne says:

    i stewed them and served with organic yogurt. Wonderful!


  3. Pingback: Sambucus mexicana | Find Me A Cure

  4. Joanne says:

    Thanks for telling us what the were. I thought I knew what elderberries looked like but obviously not. There are some kind of tree fruit that drops from trees near A. B. LUCAS secondary school. I thought they were elderberries. – HA! i think they were mulberries. Anyway I had already tasted the elderberries raw and did not enjoy them! I will use the rest cooked!


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