How To Dry Elderberries

dry elderberries Elderberries should not be eaten fresh off the bush because the raw berries can cause stomach aches or diarrhea.  However, they are excellent to consume when dried or cooked.  Making elderberry syrup is my favorite way to use this herb, and is a medicine I try to make every winter to prevent and treat the flu.

You can use elderberries fresh for recipes, but if you have an over abundance of them, it’s a good idea to preserve them in some way for storage.

How To Dry Elderberries

To dry elderberries, you need either heat or air.  Elderberries shrivel up to tiny raisin-looking berries when they are dried.  Be sure to fully dry them so they don’t spoil in storage.

dried elderberries

There are a few different ways you can dry elderberries

  1. Spread elderberries on a pan and bake in the oven on lowest heat until elderberries are dried.  I read one person say it takes 7-14 minutes to do this, but mine were NOT done in that time.
  2. Use a dehydrator
  3. Spread on a window screen or something with holes and place the screen on a cooling rack to make sure air can circulate.

When I recently dried elderberries, I used a combination of methods.  First, I used the oven method.  I turned the oven on 150 degrees and left them in there for 20-30 minutes.  They still were not dry enough, so I decided to spread them out and leave them overnight to dry.  As I mentioned, something like a window screen works well for this.  You want to be sure the elderberries are spread out well and not bunched together.  Setting them on a cooling rack will help air circulate all around them so that they dry well.

After the elderberries are dried, the best way to store them is in a glass container.  You can find elderberry syrup recipes, plus a video of me making the syrup HERE.

If you don’t have access to picking your own elderberries, you can buy dried elderberries in bulk here.

Have you ever dried or frozen elderberries?  What’s your favorite method?

Harvesting Elderberries

Here’s the way some of my elderberry bushes looked this summer. The elderflowers are especially good for treating fevers, respiratory and sinus problems.

Now the flowers have turned to berries and some are ready to harvest!  I can’t wait to gather enough elderberries to make my elderberry syrup!

The berries are not ready to be picked until they are a deep purple color.  Some of the berries are still red, but some have turned purple.  Be sure to get the purple ones before the birds do! :-)  I gather the purple ones as they ripen and store them in a covered container in the fridge until I have enough to make my syrup.  They can also be dried or frozen for longer storage.

As you can see on the cluster below, some of the berries are still a green color.  I plan to check on them often to get them as soon as they are ripe.  Elderberries are the perfect remedy for treating and preventing the flu.  They are an amazing immune booster to help any and all sicknesses too!  For prevention, I administer elderberry syrup once a day.  For sickness, I normally give hourly; for severe sickness give doses every 15 minutes.  You will be amazed at the results!!  If you don’t have your own elderberries, you can purchase them at the Bulk Herb Store.

Do you have your own elderberry bushes? How do you use them?

This post is linked to:  The Better Mom    The Modest Mom    What Joy Is Mine    A Mama’s Story    The Prairie Homestead 
Far Above Rubies    Growing Home

Elderflower Cordial

My friend, Erin, made some Elderflower Cordial recently and shared some with me!  She really is such a sweet, sharing friend!  :)  I try to always have Elderberry Syrup on hand all year round, but this is the first time I’ve taken Elderflower Cordial.
Elderflower Cordial is basically like a syrup.  Many people make it, add it to fizzy water and use it for a refreshing drink ~ and a healthy drink it is!  It is effective to use for respiratory, sinus problems and fevers.  A few weeks ago I used fresh elderflowers to help reduce my baby’s fever: this cordial can be used in the same way!
Elderflower Cordial is highly concentrated, so it is recommended to add 2 Tablespoons of cordial to 1 cup of water or other beverage.  I tend to just take it straight from the jar, though. I would add it to some other liquid if I was enjoying it as a beverage, but I normally save this for medicinal purposes. :)  My suggestion is to take 1-2 tablespoons 3 or 4 times a day for fevers and sickness {cut the amount in half for children}.  
Elderflowers are normally only in bloom for about 3 weeks in June, so June is the time to stock up on cordial!  If you add citric or tartaric acid to the recipe, the cordial will last 3-4 months in the fridge.
You can find Elderflower Cordial recipes at Ashridge Nurseries and Good Food Channel.
I’m not sure if I’ll get around to making the cordial this year since my friend has shared hers with me and spared me the trouble {even though it is easy! :)}.  I’m definitely adding this cordial to my list next spring when I plan my medicine-making days! :)
Have you ever made this cordial?  How do you use it?