Foraging for edibles can be such a thrill, especially when you can score a big harvest of elder berries!
De-stemming Elder berries
The problem is that most of us are left scratching our heads, wondering how to use these nutritious berries.
I’ve located several wonderful recipes for elder berries….enjoy!
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice,
4 1/2 cup Sugar
1 pk powdered fruit pectin
Prepare elderberries by removing the stems. Place in large saucepan and crush. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes.
Strain juice through jelly bag and measure juice.
Elder Berry Pie
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
4 cups elderberries
1 cup white sugar
3 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Cook, stirring constantly until desired thickness. Add more cornstarch if not thick enough. Add lemon juice.
Pour into bottom crust. Dot with butter. Put on top crust or make a lattice.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) until browned and berries are bubbling through holes in the crust, approximately 40 minutes.
Note: It is a good idea to put a pan or foil under the pie as it bakes since it might bubble over. (Source)
Elder Berry Wine
3 lbs. fresh, ripe elderberries
2 lbs. finely granulated sugar
3 1/2 quarts water
2 tsp. acid blend
1 tsp. yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp. pectic enzyme
1 crushed Campden tableet
Montrachet wine yeast.
Bring water to boil and stir in sugar until dissolved.
Meanwhile, wash, inspect and destem the elderberries. Put them in nylon straining bag, tie closed, and put in primary.
Wearing sterilized rubber gloves, mash the elderberries and cover with the boiling sugar-water. Cover and set aside to cool.
When lukewarm, add acid blend, yeast nutrient and crushed Campden tablet. Cover primary and wait 12 hours, then stir in pectic enzyme.
Recover primary and wait another 12 hours, then add yeast. Cover and stir daily, gently squeezing the bag to extract flavor from the berries (don’t forget the gloves or you’ll be sorry).
Ferment 14 days, then drip drain the elderberries (don’t squeeze). Combine drippings with juice and set aside overnight. Rack into secondary and fit airlock. Put in dark place to protect the color from light. Ferment two months and rack, top up and refit airlock. Repeat two months later and again two months after that. Stabilize and wait 10 days. Rack, sweeten to taste and bottle. Store bottles in dark place for one year.
Then enjoy. [Adapted from Terry Garey's The Joy of Home Winemaking]
Wild Berry Vinegar
Use this in salad dressings, or in marinades for poultry, meat or fish. Makes a lovely gift as well!
1 pint blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, elderberries or high bush cranberries.
1 quart white wine vinegar
You’ll need a glass bottle that holds at least 2 quarts for this, with a mouth wide enough to insert the berries; juice is often sold in these types of bottles. Wash it very well, then fill it with boiling water and let stand for at least 5 minutes.
Drain water from bottle; add berries. In medium saucepan, heat vinegar over low heat until it just begins to steam; don’t let vinegar boil. Pour warm vinegar over berries in bottle. Let stand until cooled to room temperature, then seal bottle and shake gently.
Set bottle in dark, cool place for one week, shaking occasionally. Strain through a sieve lined with a coffee filter into clean 1-quart measuring cup with a spout; discard berries. Pour vinegar into a clean bottle. It will keep, at room temperature, for at least 6 months. (From “Cooking with Wild Berries and Fruit” by Teresa Marrone)
Dried Elder berries
Spread washed elderberries (stemlets removed) on mesh liners over drying trays (elderberries get quite small when dried, and will fall through normal dryer trays). Doneness test: Shrunken and hard. Drying time: 4-5 hours.
Did you realize that you could use elder berries in so many interesting ways??