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 Post subject: Anyone use Elderberries?
PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014, 19:54 
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As a kid, my folks would make elderberry jelly. Some plain Elder, some with a 50% mix of wild American plums. Man I use to go nuts for that stuff but that's about all I could really remember...... Well, it's been long enough ago Im not telling, but I seen some big beautiful berries and decided to give it a whorl. I collected about 4 1/2 pounds worth (de stemmed) that first time. I mashed em up and started cooking them up to juice them. It wasn't until they started to cook until it hit me. That smell took me back so vividly to my childhood I was a bit shaken up over it. I was completely consumed by the smell of them berries.....nothing else like em. Now I can't seem to quite making the jelly! I LOVE that stuff! By far my favorite jelly in the world. They are a lot of work de stemming, but man they are worth it. I don't even know how many pounds of them we have gathered and juiced. I got plenty of juice in the freezer for future jellys or syrups! YUM! I think i'll go have some more........ :mrgreen:


Anyone else do them?

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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014, 19:59 
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That sounds like us east Texans and our mayhaws. Amak I have heard that the elderberry makes a good wine with some good medicinal qualities. Funny how smells will take a person back to certain memories.

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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014, 20:06 
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I think Swamp use's them. :roll:


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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014, 20:08 
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I don't think we have them here but a pic would help :wink: . Nice to have a memory kicker in house. :D


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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014, 20:09 
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HAHAHA!


Here is some pics that aren't mine, but they are all alike.



Image

Image

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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014, 20:11 
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The stems, leaves, and un-ripe berries, are all nasty tasting (i hear) with a mild toxin. Wonderful ripe though!

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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014, 20:13 
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Swamp Rat wrote:
That sounds like us east Texans and our mayhaws. Amak I have heard that the elderberry makes a good wine with some good medicinal qualities. Funny how smells will take a person back to certain memories.



Im not familiar with mayhaw. I'll have to look into em. Elderberry does indeed make good wine so I hear, and it certainly does have excellent benefits health wise. Great on the taste buds too! :wink:

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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014, 20:43 
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I worked with a guy who told me as a kid he and his friends made "popguns" using the stalks of elderberry bushes. I never actually figure out the process but it might be something to look into if you have a need for a "popgun". :roll:

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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014, 20:45 
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Never had elderberry jelly, but Swamp's mayhaw jelly is the tits. 8) 8)

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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2014, 01:58 
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Them look almost like chokecherries. Do they have a pit?


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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2014, 10:54 
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Swamp Rat wrote:
Funny how smells will take a person back to certain memories.


Every time I smell sagebrush, I think of Western Colorado and a good friend's place. My folks took us boys there when I was five years old. That was fifty eight years ago and that odor still triggers the memories.

Did not have elderberries there, but we used to use a lot of chokecherries. They were my dad's favorite wild fruit. Made some of the best jelly and syrup.


Last edited by remrogers on 11 Sep 2014, 11:08, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2014, 11:07 
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doc9013 wrote:
Never had elderberry jelly, but Swamp's mayhaw jelly is the tits. 8) 8)


Are you saying it sucks. :shock:


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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2014, 13:12 
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Id bet choke cherries make a fine jelly. I think we have some black cherry but not sure on choke cherries.


Elderberries are a bush type plant, that tend to grow in o r along drainage ditches or low lands. Most often in small groves. I think about the tallest i've seen were maybe 12-15 ft but most often 10 ft or less. The berry is 1/8"- 1/4 " wide at the fat part. They don't really have a pit, but there is a single seed in the berry that is kind of banana shaped and tiny. Whats weird, is in the raw state, the flavor is completely different then it is when cooked. So far, I haven't been able to pin down a good description of flavor. I've had a few folks say they are different but remind them of blueberry, and some say like sweet cranberry without the tart bite. I dont think that, but instead think they are unique in flavor like most other berries and fruit.

If you've never had the pleasure of tasting some kind of elderberry product done correctly, you truely are missing one of natures finest and best kept secrets.

I did find mayhaws on line....and it made me realize they are kin to a type of edible haw we have here. The fruit is very close in appearence. Another treat I will try next season. Sumac, not poison variety, is also on my bucket list of edibles for drink and jellies. I tasted some and its nicely tart or rather sour as in a lemon kind of way. Like everything else it has its own process in gathering and use. American wild plums make a very pretty jelly that is on the tart side too. Good stuff.

We figured we have de-stemmed and juiced 38 pounds of elderberries and 8 pounds of wild plums. About half is in jelly and half is in the freezer.

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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2014, 14:10 
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We have wild plums here also and our chokecherries make excellent syrup for pancakes. I've always tried a berry just to see how they taste and can confirm that facial expressions are a big part of taste testing. Man some are bitter but I'm assuming become palatable after frost as the birds do eat them.


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PostPosted: 12 Sep 2014, 15:21 
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We have a lot of elderberries here. I found it interesting to hear you say they taste different after cooking.


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PostPosted: 12 Sep 2014, 18:53 
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I saw some youtube posts showing how to use the elderberry stalk for the making of a popgun. We have elderberry down here but I have never gone to the trouble to pick them and then pick the fruit of the little stems. I might should try it.

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PostPosted: 13 Sep 2014, 09:00 
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Swamp Rat wrote:
I saw some youtube posts showing how to use the elderberry stalk for the making of a popgun. We have elderberry down here but I have never gone to the trouble to pick them and then pick the fruit of the little stems. I might should try it.


It can be a lot of time invested de-stemming them. The degree of ripeness upon harvest we found to be key. The fully ripe black colored berries work up the best, but not so far ripe the stems are getting wilted, dried, or brittle. In that just right stage, one can tease them off several at a time by gently supporting the underside with index and middle finger, then gently rolling them a bit with the thumb to tease them off the stem. If the berries are more purple then black, they hang on to the stem making removal harder. I tried the comb method i seen on the net but too many stems break off with the berries. Heads having a wide variety of berry ripeness are a pain too and we just wait until the most of the head cluster is just right. The end product is SO worth it.

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