Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Elderberry 2013 Herb of the Year

Many of you recognize elder as a common shrub that grows around ditches and wet areas but may not know  the elder had a sacred past in England.  The tree was thought to house the "Elder Mother", and  permission had to be requested to use any of her parts.  And generous she was.  Flowers, roots, leaves, bark, and berries have been used in a variety ways for medicinal purposes.  If vampires are a threat you can bury an elder branch under a corpse or hang a twig over your doorway to fend off witches!   

Today elderberries are often used in jams jellies and pies.  

Elderberry Jelly
2 quarts elderberries washed and stems removed
2 cups water
1 box pectin
5 cups sugar

Bring berries and water to a boil in a large non reactive saucepan. Simmer  until berries are soft.  Strain through a jelly bag or cheesecloth.  Do not squeeze for a clear jelly.  You should have 31/2 cups of juice, if not , pour a little water through the crushed berries.  Return 3 cups of elderberry juice to the pan and add the pectin to the juice.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in the sugar and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for one minute.  Remove from heat.  Skim and pour into hot sterilized jars.  Seal with hot paraffin immediately.

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Elderberry info and recipe from China Bayles Book of Days by Susan Wittig Albert

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