Picked two large bucket-fulls of elderberries yesterday. They're not the best eating but the wife will dry them and we'll drink them in tea over the winter . . really helps from getting colds and the like.
My dad and I used to pick buckets and buckets of them every year and he would make elderberry wine and my mom would make elderberry jelly. The jelly, though always tasty on toast, was sometimes a bit on the runny side. The wine on the other hand, was always good and reminiscent of MD 20/20.
Said it before but I'll say again, if you have the patience to pick and clean, there is nothing better than an elderberry pie with Breyers vanilla ice cream. Nothing.
I planted a couple of elderberry plants a couple years ago and this year they are just starting to grow. I'm hoping I get to see the day I can get enough berries (before the birds get them) to make a pie.
I make jelly and leave a quart of liquid to mix with a shot of Bird dog, knob creek bourbon ( brandy or vodka) for cold remedy. Take a shot or 2 a day at first sign of cold and it will knock it out. Same ingredients in zycam and the new cold meds as in elderberries. My friends' family from Belguim, took elderberries and brandy as a child, so don't be afraid to give it to a child in small doses.
Elderlberry bushes should be picked at 2nd year of growth. I've cut small branches at first sign of spring life and put in a jar of water to start new plants. Remove shoots that are 3 years old to gain more shoots in the spring. Last year I had 4 dinky shoots but spring came with new shoots coming out of no where lol.
I freeze the clusters to make berry removal easier and gives me the ability to stockpile and work on the entire gathering at one time, also to kill any bugs. Frozen berries sometimes just fall off into the pot. I rinse them.
Elderberry jelly is labor intensive but as always the more work the more satisfaction!
Good to see the forgotten berry making a comeback!
Bear hollow-remove all 2nd and third year shoots before green up. I remove any over 1" to 1-1/2" at the base. My bush looked stupid.... Like I totally ruined it. Come spring you'll have new shoots growing everywhere!
Last year was my 4th year of growth and I got about 5-6 gals of juice. This year I bet I get 8!
My favorite jelly as well by a longshot. My grandmother and I used to make a trip to camp specifically to pick elderberries. She made fantastic elderberry jelly. She is 94 now and has dementia. What I would give for one jar of her jelly.