On the Farm and in the Neighborhood...
I really like elderberries! Each year I love them more! I know people are crazy about huckleberries but elderberries are flavorful, nutritious, and more abundant. They can be grown in your yard and they also grow in the wild and are easy to pick! I can pick a gallon of elderberries in a couple minutes and it usually takes a couple hours to pick that many huckleberries. We have 2 elderberry bushes on the farm. They are loaded with flowers in the spring and they smell amazing! However, for some reason, we don't get a lot of berries. Luckily, I know where there are a few bushes around town and I forage from these bushes.
Elderberry’s are also known for its ability to ward off viruses. This comes through the action of a potent antiviral component, antivirin, which affects the properties of viruses, preventing them from entering cells in order to replicate. Elderberries are loaded with Vitamin C too so an elderberry syrup defeats the common cold with a one-two punch.
IMPORTANT: Raw berries are NOT eaten intentionally because they contain a cyanoglycoside that can cause illness. Heating/cooking the berries is a safe way to prepare them. Usually, I am juicing the berries with my steamer juicer so the high heat deactivates the cyanoglycoside.
The elderflower also has medicinal properties and can be made into a tea or steeped to make a sweet, floral syrup. This elderflower syrup is popular in Europe and people add a little of the syrup to seltzer or club soda and drink in the summer.
I make jelly with elderberry juice and I add a little sugar to the juice to make syrup and add that to the lemonade to sell at the Farmers Market. The jelly is one of Henry's favorites. I do have some "medicinal" elderberry syrup that I made for us to take when we feel some sickness coming on.
There is some for sale in the online store too! Whenever I hear Mark start to cough, I start giving him some of the elderberry syrup several times a day. I would actually like to try making some elderberry wine at some point but I will need a lot more elderberries. I do add some of the syrup to my homemade kombucha and it is delicious!
Have an eggcellent day!