ELDERBERRY-2013 HERB OF THE YEAR
Sambucus canadensis is a shrub with opposite, pinnately-compound leaves. The small, white, 5 petaled flowers are aggregated into conspicuous large, flat-topped or rounded inflorescences. Flowering begins in early June in northeastern Wisconsin. The fruit is a small, juicy dark purple to black berry that ripens in late summer. The habitat for Sambucus canadensis is often in moist to wet soil and full sun or light shade. It is found throughout Wisconsin and is commonly planted as a landscaping plant.
Garden Uses and Problems: Leaves boiled (and then cooled) have been used for a treatment against leaf rot, powdery mildew and aphids. Seem to help get rid of moles and mice if put down there holes (boiled leaves or powdered leaves.)
Cosmetic Uses: Since Egyptian times, an infusion of the flowers has been used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, for skin rashes, eczema and psoriasis. Also used as a steam.
Culinary Uses: Wines, cordials, Pancakes, scones, cakes, Jellies, Cobblers, pies, breads, Fruit leathers, Chutneys, Pickles, catsup. (Recipes at the end of this monograph.)
1 quart elderberries, stems removed 1 cup water
Combine. Heat to boiling then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a potato masher – crush the berry mix and then
simmer for 5 more minutes. Strain through cheesecloth – doubled over and dampened. Let it drip for 30 minutes to an hour and squeeze to get the very last drop. This will give you about 2 cups of juice.
2 1⁄2 cups elderberry juice
Juice of one lemon or approximately 3 tablespoons 2/3’s of a box of pectin (1.75 oz box)
2 3⁄4 cups sugar
Combine juice and lemon in a large stainless steel saucepan. Whisk in the pectin until it is dissolved. Heat to it boils and cannot be stirred down. Add the sugar, cook, stirring constantly until it comes to a full foaming boil.
Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
￼Remove from heat and stir for a minute or two until the foam settles – and skim what’s left off. Pour into prepared jars leaving 1⁄4 inch from top. Seal with lids ad bands. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Or cool and store in refrigerator.
1⁄2 cup dried elderberries
Stick of cinnamon or two
Ginger (a few quarter sized slices) 4 cups of water
Bring this all to a boil, cover pan, and turn off heat. Let sit overnight. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, covered. Strain. Add honey to taste (I use a couple tablespoons) and a dash of vanilla (optional). Take by the tablespoon at the first sign of flu. (This is a thin syrup.)
Mix up the least expensive pancake mix (just add water) you can find. Dip the flowers (after shaking to get any bugs out) and deep fry until lightly browned. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve but don’t eat the stems.