Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Elderberry Dreams

The yard at my Creekside Studio Shack was quite overgrown later than usual this year and Elderberry Trees appeared seemingly out of nowhere! The large bush to the right of the building in this photo is actually several Elderberry Trees growing together. At first I thought they might be poison sumac, until my best friend saw them and knew exactly what they were right off - they had grown in her yard where she grew up as a kid. I'm glad I didn't cut them out and destroy the roots like I thought I might have to! Now my berry patch has blackberries, red raspberries and elderberries...and I've found a wild strawberry here and there as well. :-)

According to my research the blue or purple elderberries are edible,though the red berries are toxic. These are very dark - almost black. My friend said the berries were darker than she remembered, and when she tasted one she said they tasted a little different but they were definitely elderberries. So I'd better check again next year when the flowers and berries appear again to be sure, before eating them. The following link is very informative if you are interested in learning more about the elderberry plant.  
USDA NRCA Plant Guide

Elderberries are said to be high in vitamin c and anti-oxidants. Some think it has many medicinal qualities including fighting inflammation, bacteria, virus and even the flu. To find out more about the herbal uses of elderberries check out the link below:

Once you're sure the elderberries you've discovered are edible you might want to try your hand at elderberry jam, jelly, syrup, pie or even good ol' elderberry wine. Check out the link to Mother Earth News for recipes and more interesting reading on related pages as well.

Mother Earth News - Elderberry Recipes

Happy berry picking next year!

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