Elderberries

Following from previous elderflower success, I went foraging for an hour this morning to see what autumn treasures I could find. I found a meagre 50g of blackberries (someone had clearly got there just before me) so made a mostly-apple and blackberry stew ready for crumbling. And I found some elderberries.

Photo from geograph

I used Eat Weeds’ elderberry cordial recipe although once I’d picked off all the unripe berries, insects and stalks I only had about 400g of elderberries which boiled down to 200ml of juice. But never mind!

Elderberry cordial is a two-boil process, once to release the juice from the berries and once to dissolve in sugar and flavourings. I could have used a hand blender and whizzed up the skins and pips etc to get a higher yield, but was a bit wary due to the natural arsenic found in elder fruit and flowers so stuck with the juice only method.

My ‘muslin or straining bag’ was again a new asda smartprice J-cloth accompanied by a sieve, but it did the trick nicely. And I’ve bottled it into a plastic drinks bottle which will work fine even if it looks a bit yucky.

The finished product is a bit like spicy Christmassy ribena which will be best diluted with hot water I think. It’s meant to be a cold remedy and full of vitamin C! Next time I’ll use honey instead of cloves and put a little less sugar in. Now, to clear up where berries have left wonderful purple stains on my kitchen…

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