Just a little reminder that it is time to pick elderberries. The heads will be drooping with weighty ripe dark berries. Don't forget to leave some for the birds too. Remember it is very important at this stage to remove the berries from the stems. The stems and bark contain purgative qualities and are best left in the hands of an experienced herbalist.
I have made mine into a tincture for use as a cold and cold remedy this winter. Warming the berries helps them to release their juice so I place them in a pot with only very little water till they soften and run (similar to the first step in making the rhubarb cordial). A potato masher also encourages the process. I then placed the pulp into two wide mouthed bottles and topped with alcohol. These will steep for two weeks then be strained from the pulp and used for coughs and colds. Adults 1 tablespoon children 1 teaspoon as required or every 3 hours.
For more information about elderflowers and elderberries I would recommend purchasing the e-book "
An Elder Gathering"
from here (look in the side bar) for $5. Well worth it.
You could also read more here on the Common Sense Homesteading blog about Elderberry syrups.