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The first shoots of the Common Elder boiled like asparagus, and the young leaves and stalks boiled in fat broth, do mightily carry forth phlegm and choler. The middle or inward bark boiled in water, and given in drink works much more violently; and the berries, either green or dry, expel the same humour, and are often given with good success to help the dropsy; the bark of the root boiled in wine, or the juice thereof drank, works the same effects, but much more powerfully than either the leaves or fruit. The juice of the root taken, mightily procures vomiting, and purges the watery humours of the dropsy...

Nicholas Culpeper, 17th century herbalist

The elder flowers in June in large, flat plates of flowerheads (called umbrells) made up of many tiny cream-white flowers. If you make sure they are clean of bugs, they can be eaten sraight off the branches on a hot summers day.

The berries can be considered ripe when the clusters begin to turn upside down. Avoid picking berries that have become over-ripe. Wash well and strip from the stalks using a dining fork.

The berries can be added to apple pie (40 elderberries:60 apple) or blackberry jam (50:50). The elderberry is often known as the Englishman's grape, and it's nutritional values show that it is similar to the grape and more so...


Nutritional values:

Vitamin A: 80 I.U. per 100mg
Vitamin B: Thiamine 0.06mg;
Riboflavin 0.04mg;
Niacin 0.2mg
Vitamin C: 4mg
Protein: 1.4mg
Calories: 70


Nutritional values:

Vitamin A: 600 I.U. per 100mg
Vitamin B: Thiamine 0.07mg
Riboflavin 0.06mg;
Niacin 0.5mg
Vitamin C: 36mg
Protein: 2.6mg
Calories: 72

Please note
For safety reasons DO NOT use the leaves, bark or roots of Elder for consumtion
They can be poisonous!!!

Elderberry Wine Recipes

  • Basic elderberry wine recipe
  • Elderberry Mead Port
  • Watermelon & Elderberry wine
  • A Wine recipe that can be used for any fruit

    Other Elderberry recipes

  • Pontack Sauce
  • Elderberry cordial
  • Elderberry ice cream
  • Elderberry jelly
  • Elderberry Pie

    Elderflower recipes

  • Elderflower Champagne
  • Four Elderflower recipes from my friend Lyle Frink
  • Elderflower Wine
  • Elderflower fritters

    (If anyone has a good Elderberry/flower recipe or knows a good web site, please email it to me

    Basic Elderberry wine recipe

    4lb Elderberries
    5 litres (1 gallons) of boiling water
    3 lb of granulated sugar
    a 'claret' yeast sachet
    8 oz chopped raisins
    Juice of 1 lemon
    Juice of 1 orange
    1 vitamin B tablet
    1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient

    Strip the berries from the umbrells into a suitably large primary fermentation vessel with a fork.
    Add 8 oz chopped raisins, juice of the lemon, juice of the orange, a vitamin B tablet and a teaspoon of yeast nutrient.
    Add the boiling water and stir well.
    When cool enough to handle, squeeze fruit with hands to extract juice.
    Leave for one day to infuse.
    Add 2 1/2 lb sugar and activated yeast and leave covered for three days.
    Strain off liquid into demijohns, top up with another 1/4 lb of sugar in each and, if necessary, with cooled boiled water.
    Leave to ferment in a warm (65-75 degrees), dark place.
    Rack off the lees into a clean demijohn when bubbling has subsided.
    Rack again 6 weeks later.
    Bottle in dark green bottles when wine is clear (I use a desk lamp to shine through from the other side) and there has been no activity for some time.
    Mature for at least 6 months before drinking.

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    Elderberry Mead Port (3 gal)

    courtesy of Mr Ed Basham

    10 lb. light clover honey
    1 oz. tartaric acid
    8 oz. dried Elderberries
    1 yeast (EC 1118)

    Bring 2 gallons of water to a boil in a stainless or ceramic pan and remove heat source.
    Add tartaric acid and honey, stir gently to dissolve.
    Depending on how the honey was processed, there may be wax and protein substance that will collect at the surface. Gently skim anything that appears, using a screen spoon.
    Cover and allow to cool to 85f. Pour this into a 3 gallon carboy, add yeast and attach air lock.
    Allow to fermentation to proceed for two days before adding elderberries.
    Do a quick cold water wash on the dried elderberries using a large fine screen strainer.
    A lot of liquid which appears brown will pass through. Put the rinsed elderberries in the carboy using a funnel.
    Rack once about 4 weeks into the fermentation discarding the elderberries.

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    Elderflower Champagne

    6 Elderflower heads
    2 Lemons (sliced)
    8 pints of water
    1.5 lb sugar
    2 tbsp white wine vinegar

    Put elderflower heads and lemons in a primary fermentation vessel and pour on the water. Leave to soak for 24 - 36 hours. Strain through a sterile cloth (or muslin) and add sugar and vinegar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved and pour into screw-top bottles. Leave tops slightly loose for 10 to 14 days. Keep for 2 to 3 months before drinking. Serve cool on a hot, balmy evening.

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    Four Elderflower recipes from my friend Lyle Frink

    Elderflower lemonade is remarkable. On a hot day, it cuts the thirst with the direct lemon taste, leaving the afterthought of elderflowers. Conversely, on a cool day, it is bland and forgettable. Ah, but when it is hot outside... It is reported to be very healthy too, but I will make no claims- other than it can be wonderful.

    I have collected four recipes so far. The first two are for lemonade which should be consumed in a few days and the remaining are for a syrup with which lemonade can be made for later consumption.


    water (in litres)
    4 big
    Sugar (grams)
    Citric Acid
    1 tspn
    2 tspns
    50 grams
    1 tspn

    I put the recipes in a table to make comparison easier. As you can see, there is a basic similarity between the proportions in all of the recipes. There are also the unanswered questions of "what constitutes a big flower?" and "are these spoons to be for soup or tea, and filled level or heaped?" All four recipes are from my Czech teacher, she uses the third.

    The flowers are to gathered away from polluted roads and industrial sites. This is because the flowers absorb pollutants and diesel dust. It also gives one an excuse for a long walk in the woods. No leaves should be included and the bugs should be washed off.

    Boil the desired amounts of water in a large pot. (This may have something to do with chlorine or micro-organisms). Afterwards, let the water cool.

    With the syrup recipes, I use a large 5 litre glass jar. Filling it full of flowers, and pressing down slightly, I then hope that I have picked the correct amount of flowers. The sliced lemons (no seeds please) are mixed in with the flowers. The water should just cover the flowers. Except for the last recipe, the citric acid is added along with the water to the jar. It acts both as a tartening agent and as a preservative.

    The filled jar then sits on the window still. This is as close to sun tea as you will find in the Czech Republic. In addition to covering the jar with a clean cloth, you will probably want to fish out the bugs that escaped your initial cleaning efforts.

    In a day or so, bring out the spaghetti sieve, a clean handkerchief, and a pot. Use the first two objects as a filter and pour the liquid on through to the pot below. I also like to squeeze the liquid out of the wet mound of flowers and lemon slices. Add the sugar and citric acid. The lemonade recipes are ready to drink. For the syrup recipes, the sugary liquid should stirred while brought to a brief boil.

    The syrup is to be stored in dark bottles in a dark and cool place. My first batch was sufficiently sterilized, the second batch has begun to ferment slightly.

    To drink, put a lemon slice in a glass, add a half inch or syrup, and pour in a high quality water. Ah......

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    A wine recipe that can be used for any fruit

    courtesy of Mr George Dolak

    2-3 lb. fruit
    2-3 lb. sugar
    3 gallons water
    1 yeast cake
    Yeast energizer, captain and yeast nutrient.

    I put them in a vat (5 gallon pail) until the fermentation stops (about 7 to 10 days).
    Rack it off into once used wine bottles (gallons).
    Let it sit for three weeks.
    Rack it off again and let it sit for 3 months.
    Then rack if off again and let it age for as long as I can wait.

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    Pontack Sauce

    1 pt. Claret
    1 pt. Elderberries (destalked)
    1 tspn salt
    1 blade of mace
    40 peppercorns
    12 cloves
    1 onion (finely chopped)
    A little ginger

    Boil the claret and pour over the elderberries in a large casserole dish. Cover and put in a VERY low oven overnight. The next day pour off the liquid into a saucepan and add the salt, the mace, the peppercorns, the cloves, the onion and the ginger. Boil for 10 minutes and bottle in sterile bottles with the spices.

    Keep for at least 1 year, preferrably several years.

    It has a fruity taste and goes very well with liver.

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    Elderberry Cordial

    Elderberries (still on stalks)

    Pick the fruit on a dry day and stew with the stalks in a large stainless steel saucepan, with just enough water to cover.

    Strain through muslin squeezing to get all the juice.

    To each pint of juice add 1 lb of white granulated sugar and 10 cloves.

    Boil for 10 minutes.

    Allow to cool and bottle in sterile bottles with good quality plastic screw-on tops making sure you distribute the cloves evenly amongst the bottles (they act as a preservative).

    The cordial can be used immediately, and will keep well for a year or two.

    Taken with hot water it is renowned as a guard against colds, and a glass a day through winter is a wise precaution..

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    Elderberry Ice cream

    By John Kennett Elderberries (destalked)
    Juice of 1/2 a lemon
    Double cream
    2 Egg whites

    First pick your elderberries. The easiest way is to snip off whole bunches, and then strip the individual berries off using the prongs of a fork at your leisure. I picked about half a carrier bag of bunches, which came out to a big saucepan of berries.

    Put the berries into a saucepan with a little water, a sprinkling of sugar and the juice of half a lemon. Go steady on the sugar, you can always add more later if you need to.

    With a lid on the saucepan, gently simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the berries have gone very soft. Leave to cool, and then push the berries through a sieve, discarding the pips that remain. This will leave a rich elderberry syrup. Taste it, and add more sugar if required. As a guide I had about a pint of syrup at the end.

    Whip half a pint of double cream until it stands in peaks, and in a separate bowl whisk two eggwhites until they are stiff enough to tip the bowl upside down. This can be quite a feat with a hand whisk!

    Fold the cream, eggwhites and elderberry syrup together gently, until the whole mixture is a uniform lurid purple. Pour into a suitable freezer container - I used a pyrex glass bowl. Then stick it into your freezer.

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    Watermelon and Elderberry wine

    from Jack Keller

    6-1/2 lb watermelon
    1/4 lb dried elderberries
    water to 1 gallon
    juice and zest of 2 lemons
    5-2/3 cups granulated sugar
    1 tsp pectic enzyme
    1 crushed Campden tablet
    1 tsp yeast nutrient
    wine yeast

    Cut the rind off of melon, cut melon into one-inch cubes, remove loose seeds, and put melon and any free juice in primary (crock, plastic pail, etc.).

    Grate the yellow thinly off two lemons, then juice the lemons and add the juice and zest (gratings) to primary.

    Add dried elderberries, pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient.

    Add water to make up 1 gallon. Stir in sugar and stir well to dissolve.

    Cover primary with cloth, wait 12 hours and add wine yeast.

    Cover and ferment 3 days, stirring daily.

    Strain juice into secondary (demijohn) and fit airlock.

    Ferment 30 days and rack, topping up with water into which 1/3 cup sugar has been disolved.

    Add one crushed Campden tablet, refit airlock, and rack every 30 days for 6 months.

    Stabilize (1/4 tsp potassium sorbate and another crushed Campden tablet) about a week before bottling.

    Allow to age at least 6 months in bottles, but improves with additional age. .

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    Elderberry Flower Fritters

    from Alan Joellenbeck

    Pick complete flower heads, wash and drain them.

    Holding the flower head upside down, dip them into a thin pancake batter.

    Set the flower head in hot oil and cook until light brown, remove and drain on a paper towel.

    Sprinkle the baked flower head with powdered sugar and enjoy.

    One may also add cinnamon to the sugared flower heads if desired.

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    Elderberry Jelly

    from Alan Joellenbeck

    2 quarts elderberries with stems removed
    2 cups water
    1 box pectin
    5 cups sugar

    In a sauce pan simmer the elderberries in the water until berries are soft.

    Strain through a cloth.

    Be sure you have 3½ cups of juice; if not, pour a little water through the crushed berries.

    Return the 3½ cups juice to pan.

    Add pectin to the juice and bring to a boil.

    Stir in the sugar and bring to a full rolling boil.

    Boil for 1 minute.

    Remove from heat, skim and pour into hot sterilized jars.

    Seal with hot paraffin immediately.

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    Elderflower Wine

    (copied from an old book) from Alan Joellenbeck

    3 pints elder flowers (stems removed)
    3 gallons water
    10 pounds sugar
    2 pounds raisins
    Juice of 3 oranges
    Juice of 1 lemon
    1 pkg wine yeast

    Wash and drain elder flowers and put in primary fermentor.

    Make a syrup of water and sugar, pour it hot over elderflowers, cover and allow to cool.

    Mix orange and lemon juice with the yeast, add the liquid, cover and let stand for 10 days.

    Strain and add the raisins.

    Cover and let stand for 4 months.

    Bottle the wine and store in a dark place for 6 months before using.

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    Elderberry Pie

    Plain Pastry or frozen pie crust
    2 1/2 cups stemmed fresh elderberries OR reconstituted dry berries
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/8 tsp. salt
    2 Tbsp. flour
    3 Tbsp. lemon juice

    Line a pie pan with pastry. Fill with elderberries. Mix sugar, salt and flour together and sprinkle over berries. Add lemon juice. Cover with top crust.

    Bake in very hot oven (450 degrees) 10 minutes; reduce temperature to moderate (350 degrees) and bake 30 minutes longer.

    This recipe is from the 1950 Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook.

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    Other Elderberry/flower related sites

    Jens´ refreshing elderberry drink (Fläderblomsaft)

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