Elderberry syrup, Elderflower pancakes, Elderberry wine…
Do I sound like Forrest Gump – “fried shrimp, grilled shrimp, shrimp fricassee…”?
A couple of years ago Ray and I attended a class on making medicinal tinctures; one of them being an elderberry syrup/tonic. Since then, I have been wanting to have my own Elderberry plants. Elderberries have become very popular lately as they are one of those “superfoods” that contain anti-oxidants, flavinoids, vitamins and minerals. And they taste good, too! The berries can be purchased online, but they can be a bit pricey!
After learning all about elderberries and where they grow, we discovered that native elderberries grow all around us! In fact, last year snapped off a sprig of a native bush and tried to get it to root. It didn’t. I think I got the sprig at the wrong time of year. 🙁
Since we really wanted some of our own Elderberry bushes and my expertise at rooting woody stemmed plants is obviously lacking, I purchased some Elderberry plants online from Stark Bros. Nursery. We bought two varieties – York and Nova – for better cross pollination. The plants themselves were cheaper to buy than a couple of pounds of dried elderberries purchased online, so this was one of those “no brainer” purchases! I still want to try getting a sprig of the local native elderberries to root, but I need to do some more research on how to do this before I try again.
When the box arrived from Stark Bros., I was quite impressed with the size of my new plants. The stalks were ¾ to an inch wide at the base! Unfortunately, it was evident that the delivery service may have been just a bit rough with the package, as several new, tender shoots had broken off the main plant.
Hmmm… I thought. What if I stick these new shoots in soil? Since I had some pots and potting mix on hand, I stuck the shoots into the moist soil and waited.
It didn’t take long! Two of the three shoots rooted, so hallaleuja, I now have four plants! I still want some of the wild ones, though. After all, variety is the spice of life!
We planted the Elderberries where they get strong morning sun but dappled shade in the afternoon, and all four of them grew very well. The two mother plants soon had beautiful white blossoms. The blossoms had a faint sweet smell and attracted quite a few different pollinators.
The berries came soon after. I had about six fairly large clumps of berries on each plant and by September the berries got heavy enough that the plant stems started drooping. Because of that, and because of the amount of deer mice, rabbits, wood rats, moles, voles and bears (oh my) we have on our property, I figured I had better pick the berries as soon as they looked ripe, which meant that I picked only two or three berry clusters at a time.
When I saw that my berries were ripening, I figured I had better start doing some research to help decide what I will do with them. First I found this post about making Elderberry Tincture, which is what made me want the elderberry plants in the first place, and this post on how to make Elderberry Wine, and this recipe making Elderberry Syrup!
What did I do with the berries?
Since I didn’t have a whole lot of them, (they are very young plants) I decided to dehydrate most of them to use at a later date. It took only half a day to dehydrate the first and second batches of elderberries.
It was funny how much the berries shrank! Holy cow, I started out with about 2 cups of berries and ended up with less than one half cup! But, I am sure when they are reconstituted, they will taste just as lovely. Or perhaps I will just include them in a granola bar recipe I’ve been wanting to try. The seeds inside the berries make them crunchy, which is great!
Maybe I will throw a handful of the dehydrated berries into yogurt! Hmmm… elderberry ice cream?
I am waiting for the day we will have enough elderberries to make a batch of elderberry wine, but of course, I will need a lot more elderberries to do that. (Sigh)
Today I harvested the last few bunches of elderberries and made a small coffee cake. Of course, I cooked it in my Sun Oven!
It was delicious. The berries are reminiscent of blueberries, but the small seeds inside give just a little bit of crunch! It’s wonderful!
So, that was the extent of our elderberry harvest this year. Since I didn’t get much in terms of dehydrated berries, I will probably hoard them over the winter. Now I understand why the dehydrated berries cost so much!
However, with my four plants and with hopes of being able to root some native elderberry plants, I am sure to have an adequate amount of elderberries in the future!
Do you grow elderberries? Do you cook with elderberries? Do you have a favorite recipe for a medicinal tonic using elderberries? I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below!
Shared at: Thank Goodness It’s Monday; Clever Chicks Blog Hop; Grand Social; Mix It Up Monday; Create, Link, Inspire; Amaze Me Monday, Motivation Monday; Homemaking Mondays; Show & Share Tuesday; The Gathering Spot; Tuesday Garden Party; Brag About It; Tuesdays with a Twist;The Scoop; Two Cup Tuesday; Tweak It Tuesday; Inspire Me Tuesdays; Tuesdays at Our Home; Lou Lou Girls; Party In Your PJ’s; You’re Gonna Love It Make, Bake and Create; Wicked Awesome Wednesday; Wined Down Wednesday; Wake Up Wednesday; Fluster’s Creative Muster; Homestead Blog Hop; Wow Us Wednesday; Wonderful Wednesday Our Simple Homestead; Share Your Cup Thursday; Home and Garden Thursday; The Handmade Hangout; Create it Thursday; Think Tank Thursday; Homemaking Party; Treasure Hunt Thursday; This Is How We Roll; Inspire or be Inspired; Inspiration Gallery; No Rules Weekend Party Friendship Friday; Family Fun Friday; Friday’s Five Features; Show Off Friday; Awesome Life Friday Simply Natural Saturdays; Saturday Sparks; My Favorite Things; Dare to Share; Scraptastic Saturday;Share It One More Time That DIY Party; DIY Sunday Showcase; Snickerdoodle Sunday; Best of the Blogosphere; Small Victories Sunday