I love foraging!
I am continually amazed at how much food is all around, that most of us don’t recognize. This is primarily because we haven’t been trained to recognize it!
Fresh and organic nuts and produce hang in trees all around us, and much of it falls to the ground to rot for the insects! What a waste. Further, what poor stewardship!
Fall is a wonderful time to forage! If you aren’t familiar with them, let me introduce you to the elder berry.
The European elder is a plant native to Europe, Northern Africa, and Western and Central Asia. It’s flowers and berries have a long history of use in traditional European medicine.
Elder berries have long been used for making preserves, wines, winter cordials and for adding flavor and color to other wines.
Native Americans used the flowers, berries and bark of elderberry trees to treat fevers and joint pain for hundreds of years, but elderberry’s real claim to fame is as a cure for the flu.
Israeli researchers have developed five formulas based on elderberry fruit that have been clinically proven to prevent and ameliorate all kinds of influenza.
What Parts of the Plant Can I Use?
Most commonly the flowers or berries. Dried fruits are less bitter than fresh. The branches and leaves are poisonous. The small stem which is sometimes left on the berry is safe. (Source)
Dr. Oz even recommends elder berry!
“Elderberry juice has been used for centuries. Elderberry will boost the immunity and works well for colds…elderberry juice is probably one of the biggest cold secrets known around. Works very well to get rid of that cold and flu.”
What Can Elder Berries be Used For??
Wine, jelly, syrup, chocolate and fudge, food coloring (perhaps yarn as well?), medicinal products, wildlife plantings and ornamental plantings.
I’ve got oooooodles of recipes that I will share in the next post, I want to respect your time to read and ingest information.
Look around tomorrow when you’re out and see if you can spot some elderberry growing, leave a comment and tell us about it!
But, to wet your whistle, let me share a YouTube video put out by Mountain Rose Herbs about how to make Elderberry Syrup. I love Mountain Rose Herbs. Enjoy!