Elderberrys are very very good for you. Long used medicinally, these plants like to be in full sun and their feet wet so they’ll happily grow along most any pond, creek or even ditch. Chances are, if you’ve driven any southeastern byway you’ve passed thousands of these. If its a tall bush with white flowers in April it just might be an elderberry!
- Pick elderflowers after noon in the heat of the day so most bugs will be down in the shade of the plant.
- Never take all the flower heads off one bush, leave some so you can get berries in the fall!
- Select the best looking flower heads, not the ones that haven’t fully bloomed or are past their prime
25 100 elderflower heads
4 cups 10 lbs sugar
2 8 lemons (heavily zested, then juiced and cut in wedges)
2 8 limes (juiced and cut in wedges)
1 Qrt 1 1/3 Gal boiling water
1 Tsp 5 ¼ oz citric acid
Boil the water & sugar, to dissolve sugar. While water comes to boil, prepare lemons & limes.
Stuff the elderflower heads, lemons, limes and juices into a large pot with a lid. Pour boiling water over the flowers & citrus. Let cool and infuse for 3 days, covered, but not tightly sealed – just enough to keep any insects out. On the third day, remove the elderflower and citrus fruits, drain through a fine-meshed sieve or a filter. Return to pot, bring to a boil, then add the citric acid and simmer for 10 minutes. Fill into hot, sterilized bottles and keep in the fridge or cool dark place.
Here are some ideas for using elderberry flower syrup:
- EF Soda – Mix 2-4 tbs into 12oz club soda or water
- EF Sparkler – Mix 2 tbs with champagne, sparkling wine, gin or other light liquor.
- Flavor whipped cream with it.
- Poke holes in a freshly baked yellow cake and douse with syrup for a rich treat.
- Combine with unflavored gelatin and Champagne plus fruit for a fancy homemade gelatin dessert.
- Serve it over pancakes or ice cream
Note: Elderberries should NOT be eaten raw. Remove all of the woody stems and leaves before cooking.
Use a BIG stockpot for this.
- 5-gallon bucket of elderberries, woody stems removed and rinsed
- about 1 to 2 cups of water just to cover the bottom and get the berries cooking
- 8 cups sugar (or honey if you have it)
- 4 lemons juiced
1. 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 15-20 minutes, until tender and soft.
2. Add sugar (or honey) and lemon. Cook at a low boil over moderate heat for another 15 minutes, until the syrup has thickened.
3. Pass through a strainer/sieve
4. Pour into prepared jars and store in a cool place or the refrigerator.
Anything you can do with the elderflower syrup, you can do with the elderberry syrup. I especially use the elderberry syrup to make tea – its my preferred hot morning beverage! Just add 1-2 tbs to a cup of boiled water.