Elderberries: Thanks

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Elderberries

By SongofJoy
June 9, 2014

Living in Washington State for two years resulted in my first introduction to elderberries (Sambucus sp.). A friend took me on a hike into the woods and showed me where they were and how to identify them. The resulting jelly was wonderful.

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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 8, 2014 8:38 PM CST
Thanks, good information, great photos. Oh, love the yellow-leaved one, pretty!

Years ago my new father-in-law took me for a short walk, showed me how to identify elderberries and where some of the good plants were known to grow. He then said very seriously, "It's your job now to make the jelly every year."
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Jun 9, 2014 12:00 AM CST
nodding Elderberry jelly is such a treat! I think that was the first jelly I ever made. And it made a lasting impression.
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Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Jun 9, 2014 1:27 PM CST
I have elderberry and love the flowers this time of year. I don't get any berries...unfortunately. Maybe someday I'll plant a different kind so there can be berries. Or maybe somebody else will have another kind of elderberry growing nearby someday. Mine are all from the original plant.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
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Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Jun 9, 2014 1:27 PM CST
I have elderberry and love the flowers this time of year. I don't get any berries...unfortunately. Maybe someday I'll plant a different kind so there can be berries. Or maybe somebody else will have another kind of elderberry growing nearby someday. Mine are all from the original plant.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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greene
Jun 9, 2014 2:13 PM CST
My friend from Argentina used to make a type of cookie - a secret recipe using the heads of Elderberry flowers/Elderflowers.
These were served at wedding showers, the many flowers were a symbol of fertility wishing the bride to have many children.
The closest recipe I can find is for Elderflower fritters.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/jun/19/nigel-sl...
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Jun 10, 2014 4:28 AM CST
Nice article. I didn't realize there were so many varieties of elderberry. I have 'Black Beauty' and really love it; however, it died back this winter and only a few stems came back.
Vickie
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Jun 10, 2014 5:11 AM CST
Thank you. This past winter was a tough one. I hope it will rebound for you next year.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
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MaryE
Jun 10, 2014 12:02 PM CST
We have a few bushes that grew from a plant we dug up in my sister's pasture. Over the years we have harvested a lot of berries which I put in my big steamer to extract the juice.

Here is the harvest from several years ago, each bucket holds about 4 gallons. I don't remember how much juice it made.
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Jun 10, 2014 2:51 PM CST
Great harvest, Mary.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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greene
Jun 10, 2014 3:53 PM CST
@MaryE, how pretty. That type does not grow here in the southeast; yours are beautiful.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
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ckatNM
Jun 10, 2014 3:54 PM CST
I had two elderberry bushes I harvested to make elderberry tonic each year. It was absolutely the best thing I ever grew for my health. All I had to do was pick a bunch of berries, strip them from the stems, mash the berries, and boil them with just enough water to cover the berries. When it cooled, I poured some in freezer bags and stacked the bags flat in the freezer. I made tea from other herbs in my garden and once every other week or so in the winter months, I took a chunk of the frozen elderberry juice and dropped it into a nice hot cup of tea, with honey. For the first time in my life, I survived a winter without a cold, flu, or pneumonia. For several years, I was never sick, because of the elderberry tonic. Sometimes, I just had hot tonic with honey. It was quite delicious and I really wish I had some elderberries in my new home to pick this fall. The elderberries I grew were so plentiful that I was able to leave a lot of the berries for the birds.

There are many recipes for elderberry tonic on the internet, but I kept mine simple so I could use it in a variety of teas and different fruits and herbs added for flavoring. Now that I am growing stevia, I would boil the leaves with the berries and strain them out before freezing. If I only had some elderberries. I also miss the heavenly smell of the blossoms. I could never walk through my garden without stopping to smell the blossoms, even from several feet away. It is my favorite flower scent and I would grow them just to smell the blossoms if I was unable to make the tonic.
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Jun 11, 2014 4:50 AM CST
I have one red elderberry which has grown rather scraggly due to neglect.
After reading your article and the comments to it, I think I will prune it back and
see what it will grow into when care is given.
Thanks for a great article. I have the Black Lace one too---it dies off every winter.

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