I grew up in West Virginia on a dirt road that had a creek that ran next to it. Every year elderberry bushes would line the road between the creek and the road. I always got excited when the flowers started blooming because I knew that the berries were right around the corner. We would grab bunches of them to eat as we walked down the road.
They used to grow wild everywhere. They are so good for you and I really enjoy the taste of them. When I bought my house about 5 years ago we planted a baby elderberry bush and it has since grown huge and provides a lot of berries. For the past two years I have had enough to actually make jelly. It is a lot of work but it turns out really good. This year I put the twins to work plucking berries and smashing them.
They much prefer the smashing part over the plucking part, it is a lot more fun. I use a vintage cone canning sieve and wood pestle. But you can use what works for you. You have to empty out the sieve a couple of times during the process because it gets full of skins and seeds and it makes it harder to smash them. I ended up feeding them to the chickens. They really liked the special treat.
Once all the berries are smashed I run the juice through a screen colander to get out any seeds that made it through the sieve. The juice is nice and clean and looks awesome. It is a lot of work to get that juice but it is very satisfying. And just think, you can get out your frustrations while smashing berries.
I use the SURE-JELL recipe for my jelly and it has always worked well for me.
3 cups prepared juice (buy about 6 qt. or 3 lb.
fully ripe elderberries)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 box SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
4-1/2 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
- Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer.
Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm
water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan o
- Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before
- Remove and discard large stems from elderberries. Crush fruit
thoroughly; place in saucepan. Cook on medium heat until
juice starts to flow, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low,
cover and simmer 15 min., stirring occasionally. Place 3 layers
of damp cheesecloth or jelly bag in large bowl. Pour prepared
fruit into cheesecloth. Tie cheesecloth closed; hang and let drip
into bowl until dripping stops. Press gently. Measure exactly 3
cups prepared juice into 6- or 8-qt. sauce pot. (If necessary, add
up to 1/2 cup water for exact measure.) Stir in lemon juice.
Stir pectin into juice in sauce pot. Add butter to reduce foaming.
Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop
bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in
sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring
constantly. Remove from heat. Skim o
any foam with metal
- Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch
of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids.
Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner.
Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches.
Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle
boil. Process 5 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to
cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing
middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not
sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have. If you have any questions please let me know, I am happy to help. I would love for you to share your experience if you try it.
Isaiah 17:11 though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain.