11 Must-try ways to preserve elderberries

Harvested elderberries, ready for anything!
Harvested elderberries, ready for anything!

We’ll be picking wild elderberries soon, and after we get them off the stems we’ll need to cook with them or preserve them. This article is about preserving them for later.

Why preserve them? According to Wildman Steve Brill:

“Avoid unripe, green berries–they’ll get you sick. Even raw ripe elderberries make some people nauseous. Cooking or drying dispels the offending substance, and greatly improves the flavor. Baking this fruit in muffins, cakes and breads imbues them with a piquant crunchiness. They become the central ingredient whenever you use them in baked goods. Elderberries aren’t sweet and contain no thickeners. Rely on other ingredients for these elements, especially if you’re making the European favorite, elderberry jam.”

With that in mind, here are some of the best ways to make your elderberries last.

Drying:

Freezing:

Canning:

Syrup:

  • Elderberry-Honey Syrup

Wine:

Tincture:

And, of course…

Jam:

In addition, Slow Food Ireland has an amazing PDF file from 2011 that calls itself “THE JUST-ABOUT COMPLETE, BEGINNERS GUIDE ON WHERE TO FIND IT, WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE, HOW TO PICK IT, HOW TO PREPARE IT, AND HOW TO PRESERVE IT”

What more could you ask for?

Note:  This is part of a series that I wrote in 2010 as the urban foraging examiner for a defunct website.  Since then, Alicia has written her elderberry foraging book (affiliate link) and has much more comprehensive information there.  She’s published quite a lot of information about foraging and using elderberries here on our blog and on her author website, too.

— Daryl

 

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Post Author: thudster

2 thoughts on “11 Must-try ways to preserve elderberries

    David Cook

    (December 5, 2018 - 6:54 pm)

    I have 5 one pound bags of elderberries frozen from season before last, I got sick and couldn’t pick last season and wasn’t able to use the ones I had frozen either. I’m doing better now and was wondering if these berries are still good? They look and smell great, I am making juice right now and got to thinking I had better check but can’t find info on two season old berries.
    Thanks, David

      Alicia Bayer

      (December 6, 2018 - 7:06 pm)

      David, they’re fine to use. They will not have the medicinal strength of fresh or dried berries (I go into how much that changes over time in the freezer in my elderberry book) but they’ll still have some and will also still be great for jelly, wine, juice or desserts like elderberry meringue pie. Enjoy your elderberries! ~Alicia

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