Sunday, July 28, 2013

Elderberry Season

We went out and picked our first batch of elderberries for the year the other day.  I was a couple of days late, as the birds had already eaten more than their share!  Dad found this particular patch of elderberry bushes in the woods last year, and didn't even tell me about them!  Lol.  Mom let the cat out of the bag after I stumbled upon them myself.

These bushes are out in the sun, the area they're in far less overgrown than where I usually pick, and probably a good two weeks ahead of my usual patch.

Red elderberries grow in this area. 

You can still tell that they're ripe when the stems turn from light green to purple.  We snap the stems off the bushes and toss them into a five gallon pail. 

Back at the house the whole pail goes in the freezer.  The bucket gets a good shake a few times a day, which knocks the frozen berries off the stems.  After a few days, cleaning is a breeze.  I'm sure I'll have close to three inches of just berries in the bottom of my bucket, with more to pick soon.  They'll make about double the batch of elderberry wine that I made last fall.


  1. This was very interesting, Wendy. I've never seen or tasted elderberries, but I've heard that they have some incredible health benefits. Your processing method sounds so interesting. The sum of many years experience using the berries no doubt.

    1. Thanks. They have a tart taste, maybe an aquired taste? lol. I grew up eating mom's elderberry jam, and now I make my own. Only #1 shares my love though. Husband and the other boys don't care for it at all. I'm hoping the wine turns out as nice as I've heard!

  2. My elderberries have all been stripped from the bushes or dried up or something! I suspect this is one of the reason birds love my yard. There are lots of elderberry bushes here, amongst a host of other berry producers.

    I have heard of the freezer method of removing the berries. It sounds easier than laboriously picking all the berries off by hand.

    1. lol. That's the way of it. The birds won't touch them while they're growing, and then just as they ripen, poof- they're gone.

      Much, much easier- and since they're frozen the berries don't squish and lose their juice.