Small tree white flowers red berries

Sambuca’s Fine For Elderberry Wine

Start your New Year off right with a glass of elderberry wine or elderberry blossom champagne. Don’t have any? Well, next year then.

I started mine off right: I bottled six gallons of elderberry wine, six gallons of cherry wine, and a leftover gallon of apple wine this morning. Most of the wine, but not all of it, made it into the bottles… As it should be. After all, it is New Year’s, and I am cooking a goose with wild rice stuffing (mixed with chopped pecans and tangerines right off the tree.) Alas, bachelors dine alone but well. Back to elderberries… Incidentally, I am writing now about only black or deep purple elderberries. Read about red elderberries at the bottom of the page.

Elderberries are easy to like. They’re user-friendly. Jam, jelly, pies, syrup, schnapps, brandy and wine can be made from them. The flowers are also edible and can be used in pancakes and muffins or just dipped in batter and fried. They also make a nice tea or a refreshing “Elder Blow Champagne.” Elderflower water is also used in perfumes and sweets.

Many writers say raw elderberries have an unpleasant taste. The ones in my yard do not, but that can change from location to location, shrub to shrub. Most agree that they do need to be cooked if you are going to eat more than just a few out of hand. producing glycosides, which are released upon digestion, but so do loquats.

Professor Julia Morton, who was the first, middle and last word about poisonous plants in warm climates, especially Florida, says the fully ripe black berries are not toxic and you can eat as many as you like. She adds, though, that their flavor is moderated by drying. And in fact, I have a large jar of dried elderberries and sprinkle them on and in many things when cooking. Boiling or baking certainly takes care of any “toxic” issue as does drying raw berries. The Mikasukis Indians considered elderberries a scarcity food only. s a lot of hollow stems that insects like to live in. Watch out for them on the plant and under your feet while picking elderberries. Oh, elderberries do not have thorns. If you think you have an elderberry and it has thorns you have a Hercules Club. Don’t eat those seeds.

As for my personal experience with black elderberries ….I don’t have a sweet tooth —which makes my Greek relatives wonder if I am adopted — but my favorite immediate use for elderberries is pies, though you have to add an acid like vinegar or lemon juice. The great thing about elderberry pie is it is seasonal and rare. You can’t buy one. It is not processed, edible non-food stuff we call food. It’s the real deal, and delicious with a texture similar to blackberry pie. If I have enough elderberries, I make wine. If in between, I make schnapps.


Forsythia is inexpensive

2007-04-14 20:09:09 by nofakeflowersplease

Rhamnus californica/Coffeeberry
Attractive native California shrub, 6 to 8 feet high. Bears black berries and tolerates all soil types. Ideal as a background or screen plant.
Christmas berry, holly berry or toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia
This California native is an evergreen shrub that produces delicate white flowers and large clusters of brilliant red berries that birds love. Can be pruned into a small tree. Deer resistant. Fire resistant.


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