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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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!
 

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bearhollow said:
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.
Agreed. This is truly delicious.

The jelly is also excellent, my favorite.
 

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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!
 

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misfire1 said:
My favorite jelly. My sister makes the best.
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.
 

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Toxo - I planted 25 elderberry plants from Howard Nursery in the spring of 2014. I have several plants with berries in their second year.

I am interested in some more details about how you cut them back to encourage more growth. So you are cutting any shoots that an inch around, at the base before green up? Some of my second year plants have a sizeable woody stem already.

We planted mostly for deer browse, but the berries are a fantastic added bonus. The birds will get all of them this year...and hopefully they spread the seeds further across our ridge for more plants in the future. I will be looking to harvest some berries next year though...
 

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There are several YouTube vids on elderberries but you can't find any about pruning:( I did find one site that suggested I cut all 2 nd and 3rd year growth. So I tried it scared to death cuz I only have 2 bushes. For me it worked like a charm and I Had shoots everywhere!

I would recommend you try it on a tree or 2 since you have quite a few. I cut the ones somewhere over an inch to 1-1/2" you can call the folks you purchased the bushes from they can give you a better idea since you may have a different type. For instance the local wild trees have bigger berries by 1/3 rd over mine.

I cut right before green up, in fact last year I cut just as leaves were coming out of one shoot. I took a small limb from the cut shoot and put it in a cup of water and it developed roots an we gave it away:)
Leave those 2nd year shoots for another year to prune. You'll see once the leaves fall which ones to prune. Hayl if I can do it anybody can:)
 

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Btw I spent 6 hours Sunday pulling frozen berries from stems. I got #24:)
I'm looking for someone to make some wine. If i like it and it doesnt take a lot of berries I will start making wine from my berries
 

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Toxo - thanks for the help! I will try to get some pics after the leaves drop so I can post here. I'm thinking you mean that I will be able to see the real "woody" stems as the older stems that need pruned.

Do you think I should wait until Spring of 2017 to do any pruning? That would give me some 3 year old growth to prune.

The deer have definitely found the elderberry bushes as a favorite "browse stop".
 

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Yeah it wouldn't hurt till then to prune. Possibly Some of your shoots will get pretty high. Not a big deal. Wild bushes can grow to surprising height, but then you can't get the berries.

In all honesty- there's going to be a time during berry harvesting, when you're thinking are they really worth the trouble..... I can tell you without a doubt every berry, every stem removed makes it all worthwhile. I have folks falling all over themselves to get some jelly!
 

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Your Welcome! FWIW- I'd kill most any critter trying to get my elderberries lol yes deer do love them.

Kudu you want a jar of jelly?
 

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Finished up last night with a total of 18 batches out of 2 bushes. Gonna tr making some homemade wine but I'm going to try the commercial concentrate first rather than waste my own berries.

Several tips I've learned:
Don't smash your berries during the process. The seeds leave an acidic taste. It won't ruin the taste just make it a bit tart. I gently push the berries then use a pillow case type cloth to compress the berries during the filter process.
Also I learned the hard way to can no more than 2 batches at a time. Exact measuring is very very important and with large quantities varies.

OAWC- I've now seen several more site that state to prune only 3 yr old shoots.
 

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Toxo - thanks very much for the info!

The oldest I have are only 2 years old right now...so looks like I'm waiting until late winter/early spring of 2017 to prune.
 
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