What to do with Elderberries?

I know these aren't tomatoes.  We'll get back to tomatoes in the next post.  But just what are these?  These are elderberries.  We picked a big bucket full of them.  Now what?  I've never picked these before.  Do you know any good recipes for elderberries?  I'm hoping my blog's ability to crowd source will reveal some exciting and tasty ideas. 

It turns out we picked 8.4 lbs of elderberries.  That's a huge amount, enough to try several recipes.  Here's your recommendations so far:

1.  Wine (7 votes)
2. Liquor or cocktails (3 votes)
3.  Jam or Jelly (6 votes)
4. Pie (2 votes)
5. Pancakes (3 votes)

This post was featured in Simple Lives Thursday


  1. Recently I saw an elderberry infused martini that looked so refreshing - but wine is a good idea too :)

  2. Elderberry pie of course. Yum... I haven't had one in years.

  3. Jams for example.
    I make every year elderberry jam. This time I mixed with blackberry. If you are interested you can find here the recipe: http://makkaskitchen.blogspot.com/2010/08/just-simple-black-fruits.html

    Or try a home made liquer: infuse some alcohol with a bit crushd elderberries and a split vanilla bean, leave stand for about a month, make a sugar syrup, combine and leave for further two weeks then sieve.

  4. Wine - here's a link to two recipes http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/elderber.asp

    In the springtime, try using the flowers. You can make a cordial, a sparkling elderflowerade, or an elderflower champagne.

  5. Hello there and may I say God bless you and your husband for doing all the great works you have done as a Peace Corp Volunteer! Good for you! You two sound like extraordinary people...which are my kind of folks!

    Here is the best sounding Elderberry recipe I pulled off of CookEatShare.com from The Global CookBook.

    3 lb Elderberries
    3 lb Half-ripe grapes


    Wash elderberries. Remove stems. Cover with water. Cook till soft. Drain through jelly bag. Wash grapes. Remove stems. Cover with water, cook till soft. Drain through jelly bag. Combine elderberry and grape juice in equal proportions. Add in 3/4 c. sugar to each c. juice. Boil rapidly till jelly sheets from spoon.

    I have never made this recipe or cooked or bought with elderberries. (I haven't even ever seen them in the store here in CA or UT when I lived there.)

    I would love you two to join my cooking blog called "Cooking Up A Storm All Over The World" at:


    God bless and happy cooking!

    Polly Motzko

  6. I make elderberry and peach preserves this time of yr--over ripe peaches make the preserves perfect!

  7. Definately make the wine!!

  8. They look intriguing. I would try Elderberry Jam. My bread machine has a "jam" setting that I've been wanting to try. Good luck.

  9. I've never even heard of elderberries before! What do they taste like?

  10. Got nothing for you. I have never picked any or eaten any. I have had wine and jam made with them though. They aren't available here in my part of NJ.

  11. I remeber elderberry jam from my childhood but have never been able to find elderberries to make it. Good luck.

  12. I have no idea what to do with fresh elderberries, but I can't wait to see shat you come up with. :)

  13. I made elderberry compote and used it as a filling for crepes (we call them flapjacks in my family). See here


    I would not put too much sugar - maybe a 1/2 cup per 4 cups of elderberries to even out the flavor of the berry to the bitterness of the seeds. Have fun!

  14. "Drunk all the time, feeling fine on elderberry wine, those were the days, we'd lay in the haze, forget depressive times, how can I ever get together, without a wife in line, to pick the crop and get me hot on elderberry wine..."

    From Elton John to me to you!

  15. My dad used to make elderberry syrup, which was very good on pancakes. He also made elderberry fritters, but I never got recipes for either.


  16. Chutney, simple syrup for cocktails...

  17. i never seen these berries before! maybe they are good for wines???

    Have a lovely day!!
    Jen @ www.passion4food.ca

  18. Anonymous8/19/2010

    I think cordials or jellies would be good. Do you have a picture of the foliage? I think I know where to forage some elderberries, but I don't want to poison my family!

  19. Wow, I was too slow. Somebody already scooped me on making wine. And they passed along Jack's recipes! His recipes have worked across a bunch of different wines. I didn't use one for my elderberry wine, but I reviewed them when planning.

    For my 2007 Elderberry Piesporter I took a Piesporter (Muller-Thurgau grape) white wine kit and added 6 oz of dried elderberries to it during the intial fermentation. The aroma and flavor was wonderful. This wine was gone with 18 months and I haven't made it since. With 4 lbs of fresh elderberries you would be able to make about a gallon of wine in a small glass container. A recipe from Jack would for great. If you end up doing it and have questions shoot me an e-mail at jasonphelps@yahoo.com. I make about 100 gallons of wine each year and experiment with fruit, juice and grapes all the time!


  20. Your grandmother used to add elderberries to wild grapes when she didn't have sufficient grapes for making jelly.

    I've tried that. The vote at our house was don't dilute the wonderful taste of wild grapes with elderberries. Better to have less jelly than mix elderberries and grapes.

  21. Anonymous8/19/2010

    Cough syrup. I have some I'm eyeing around here that I plan to make into a cough syrup for this winter. My kids always get a hacking cough and in tests, elderberry cough elixir worked better than traditional cough syrup.

    Here's a link that has a recipe :http://www.myherbalnotebook.com/2009/12/winter-colds-and-christmas-tummies/

  22. My vote is for elderberry syrup that you can use this fall to stave off the flue. I made some last year and we took it every day all winter. Be careful to pick out all the bark and leaves as they can be toxic! I found my syrup recipe on www.mountainroseherbs.com And thanks for hooking up to Simple Lives Thursday.

  23. COCKTAILS! for sure :)
    Thank you for contributing to Simple Lives Thursday!

  24. And to think that I just pedaled by a huge patch of elderberries on the bike path yesterday! Now I have some ideas on what to do with them...