Beyond elderberry syrup and vinegar--what else?

I've got a TON of elderberries this year. I've made syrup and vinegar from them. I know I can make jelly, but that still won't use all of them. I figured this group would be a great source of additional ideas. What else can I do with them?


  • pamelamackenzie
    pamelamackenzie Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    Sell them. Give them to local kids club, 4-H or something with syrup recipe so they can make their own syrup. Dry them

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin

    @Melissa Swartz If only you were in Canada, I would buy lots! Most definitely! What variety do you have, do you know?

    I made a bit of syrup last year. The berries are so expensive! There is a lady, somewhat local (3 hrs away), who sells the syrup, but I would rather make my own. Actually, I would like to grow it myself then make the syrup.

    For ideas, could you put them in pemmican or bannock? Are they ever used in baking (muffins, breads, etc?)

  • gennywu
    gennywu Posts: 96 ✭✭✭

    My Austrian grandparents had a big elderberry bush growing in their back yard. My grandma would make a sauce, similar to blueberry sauce. She would cook the elderberries with cinnamon, lemon rind, and some sugar. This sauce was served over pancakes or ice cream or cake. Tasted delicious.

  • Melissa Swartz
    Melissa Swartz Posts: 270 ✭✭✭

    Laurie, I have black elderberries. I'm not sure of the subspecies. Great ideas on uses for them! Thanks!

    And gennywu, that sauce sounds yummy. I have seen a couple of elderberry cordial recipes that have those same ingredients, so I think you are on to something there.

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @Melissa Swartz @pamelamackenzie Great idea to dry them. Last year we had a bit of an "elderberry draught" here in the UK and the online price was really hiked up. If you have good quality berries I would definitely recommend keeping a stash for sale! People are really switching on to their health benefits.

    I'm happy to share my recipe for elderberry and rosehip syrup if anyone is interested in having a go at making a simple flu remedy:

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @gennywu That sauce sounds AMAZING!

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    Totally agree -- I'd dry them to make sure I had plenty for future use in case they don't produce well next year, and then sell or give away the rest! I just saw that a local farm here in SW Colorado is selling fresh-picked, organically grown elderberries for $15 for a bag that weighs just under 3 pounds. Not sure how that pricing translates to your area, but just to give you an idea....

  • Melissa Swartz
    Melissa Swartz Posts: 270 ✭✭✭

    sarah121 and Merin Porter Drying them is a great idea. I hadn't considered the possibility of an "elderberry drought".

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @Melissa Swartz I do a few different things with my Eldeberries. I dry some to use for herbal teas (for self and to sell). I also have frozen some of them to use in herb granitas, a mead, jam (by itself and with other wild berries), and infused water. I may also use some in a pie this year.

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @Melissa Swartz I wish I had your problem! It is very hard to find elderberries by me. I have to drive a few hours to hunt around in the forests for them. I agree drying them is a great options to use later. I heard tinctures can sometimes outlast the syrups if you need some for spring colds. How long do you store your syrups? I have been told to use them within 4-6 weeks for elderberry.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    How fortunate! I hope I’m as lucky when my elderberries start producing. Just planted them this spring!

    I wonder what a marinate sauce would be like? Maybe use an orange chicken recipe and substitute with elderberry?

    I have elderberry martinis 🍸😊 it’s just a simple syrup but yet another way to use it💕

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭

    I've made elderberry pie, and it was good. I've also enjoyed elderberry jelly, but I didn't make it.

    A thought just came to me. I have not tried this, but I bet elderberry shrub would be really good. And shrubs keep a long time in the fridge.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,583 admin

    We have a presentation on just this topic coming up in the Home Medicine Summit in a few weeks.

  • Melissa Swartz
    Melissa Swartz Posts: 270 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for some great ideas! We tried to make elderberry mead, Obiora E, and ended up with elderberry vinegar instead. It's really good vinegar, tastes great, but definitely a fail in making mead.

    blevinandwomba I tried to make elderberry jelly last year, another fail. It didn't set, so I had more elderberry syrup :) After that, I learned that's typical with elderberries; they need more pectin to jell. So for the next attempt I will use apple juice with them to remedy that.

    gardneto76, I have stored my syrups for up to a year in the fridge. I know that's way longer than they are supposed to last, but that's been my experience.

  • Melissa Swartz
    Melissa Swartz Posts: 270 ✭✭✭

    Looking forward to seeing the presentation at the Home Medicine Summit, Marjory Wildcraft

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @Melissa Swartz You are very welcome. How long did you ferment your mead (that turned into vinegar)?

  • Melissa Swartz
    Melissa Swartz Posts: 270 ✭✭✭

    Obiora E For the first attempt, I believe it was 7 or 8 days. More like 4 to 5 days on the second try; we thought we were OK but apparently not. Do you have any advice?

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here is a video on a couple from youtube that visit an elder grower and at the last about 5 minutes, they are back from the field and processing area with I think it is 5 different products.

    Interesting video/information, including propagating, and end of season pruning.


  • Chris A.
    Chris A. Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

    In the past I made a medicinal syrup from the elderberries by decoction. You put everything in the pot ... leaving the berries on the branches, covering with cold water, bringing to a boil and then simmering for several hours. I know I added a sweetener but I can't remember how much. However, after putting it through a strainer, it was still really hot so I put it in hot jars with resealable lids (like snapple type jars ... I don't drink the stuff but have people save me glass jars that have resealable lids). The jars seal and you can keep it for a really long time in your pantry along with your canned fruit. It makes a great cough remedy for kids and adults and is great for colds or any ailment that causes mucus and phlegm.

    Don't you just love all the things that God provides in nature that are so simple and yet so healing and effective? They are everywhere.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 916 ✭✭✭✭

    Kind of like grape juice, what about elderberry juice and freeze it. Then you could have happiness in the colder months ahead. Or, Elderberry wine...fermented berries and sugar with brewers yeast, that is if you have the time:

  • Melissa Swartz
    Melissa Swartz Posts: 270 ✭✭✭

    silvertipgrizz Thanks for the interesting video! Lots of good info in that one. Elderberry Lemonade--that sounds really good!

    teachercaryn  I've frozen the berries; haven't tried juicing them first. That's a good idea; they would take up much less room in the freezer that way.

    Pat, if you leave the berries on the branches, are you worried about the arsenic precursor in the stems? I've read that you need to get the berries off of the stems because of that.