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Friday, March 13, 2015

Elderberry Preparation and Preserving

I have already written before about elderberry tincture and you can easily make it into a cordial, elixir, shrub etc. and benefit from it's wonderful healing and health properties. Remember to follow directions, remove stems and strain the pulp containing the seeds as both stems and seeds have an emetic effect. A number of blogs are failing to advise this important step.

Due to popular demand within the family and friend circle I have harvested three times as much as in previous years. One day this week I spent 5 hours in total removing the berries from the stems and usually the staining washes off but this time the deep purple has remained quite stubborn around my nail areas. I now have about four kilos of berries macerating in vodka.

Pick them at their peak when heads are heavy and full of plump healthy berries. I harvest into woven baskets and let them sit a while somewhere cool, this allows the critters time to escape and find new lodgings. I always give them a good swishing wash in a sink full of water to remove any webs, dust and bird poo. You will have a couple of days window of opportunity to de-stalk but I have found the sooner you do it after harvest the better they pop off the stalks. Some people use a fork to rake the berries from the stems but I'm a bit fussy. 

The rest pictured above are washed and drying. on teatowel covered racks. Once they loose a bit more moisture I will hang them in a calico bag to completely dry off for emergency dry stores in case we run out of tincture. Once dry the stalks are easily rubbed and winnowed away and they can be re-hydrated. 


  1. You always have the most amazing posts. I'd love to spend a day in your kitchen when you are preserving nature's bounty.

  2. Can you post a picture of the plant/s you harvest from? I am trying to get an idea of how many I would need to grow and how big they get for when we are in NZ. I have heard that cordial and champagne are very tasty from the flowers but if you harvest the flowers that would mean no berries I assume so you would need enough for both.


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