Elderberries – Takes Me Back

Okay, these shrubs are huge.  When I think shrub, I imagine bushy, low to the ground, reachable… manageable even.  In contrast, the reality of my elderberry bushes are heading-to-the-sky enormous and this is only year three.  On the other hand, I have a huge amount of juicy, aubergine berries to go with my out-of-control shrubs.

With those berries, what will I make?  A perfectly balanced sweet and tart pie with a flaky, buttery crust?  Elderberry syrup for both our mile-high pancake stacks or our viral ailments during the winter months?  Gem-like elderberry jam or jelly for shockingly purple smoothies or homemade bread and butter?  Maybe all three given the amount of berries we have.

The tiny treasures that are elderberries pack a powerful punch in both flavor and health benefits.  My grandmother used to make pies and jams the recipes for which are both on the blog already.

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StrainingElderberries

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Dear Grandma, Can I tell you about my Elderberries?

Dear Grandma,

Well, the moment I’ve been dreaming about and waited on for so long has arrived and I’m about to go out to harvest my first crop of elderberries.  When I do, I’ll don a white, long sleeved shirt that Jon tossed into the rag pile, only it won’t go down to my knees like it did when I was little and I’ll only need to roll the sleeves up once.  We used to have metal buckets when we tromped out to the fields behind Uncle Bob and Aunt Marjorie’s house, but mine all have wood ash in them from emptying the wood stove so I’ll bring a basket lined with some parchment paper so that the berries don’t fall through the bottom.  I don’t remember ever picking through the berries with you once we got home.  I suspect that I made myself scarce at that point and you and mom did the lion’s share of that work with me running into the kitchen for a snack to take out onto the patio where I sat in some much needed shade and watched the daddy long-legged spiders build nests and listened to the background music of you and mom catching up and telling each other stories.

I’m going to make your pie first, but I have a lot of berries so I’ll also make some jelly and syrup.  If you were here, I’d love to share some with you over a cup of tea, but I guess we’ll have to wait on that until I see you again in the future.

Love,
Anne

elderberry picking

picking elderberries for jam and syrup

cooking with elderberries