Sunday, 26 February 2012

local food: abundant elderberry

Have you noticed the trees and the birds landing ever-more heavily as their bellies swell with the seasons bounty?
Elder trees are abundant in the Harbour Basin. In the Spring they are a wonderful source of elderflowers that can be made into a sweet, refreshing Summer cordial drink. Right now it is time to pick the berries and transform them into a flu-busting, vitamin C rich syrup. Each year we forage enough to make up a few batches of the syrup as an immune booster for the coming months.

This is what I do:

1 cup elderberries.
3 cups water
1 cup honey/sugar.

Rinse well and pull the berries away by running a fork along the stalks. Do not steep with stalks attached as this part of the plant is toxic.  Place berries in a pot with the 3 cups of water and bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer the brew for 45 minutes with the lid on.
Stir in the honey, bottle and store. 
This will store well in the fridge for up to 3 months.

A couple of weeks back I tried some locally made elderberry liqueur which was a particularly special drink. There are quite a few recipes on the net but I'm holding out for a copy of the local recipe.

Posted by Jacinda, also occassionally writing at


  1. How do you take it. A spoonful a day or diluted as a drink? etc etc
    Regards Phillipa

  2. I Tablespoon a day. The adults take it off the spoon, the girls like it diluted a bit. Thanks for asking. Beautiful stitching over on your blog.