foraging, The Great Outdoors

Foraging for Blackberries & Elderberries {and what I made with them}

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Ah berries. One of summer’s sweetest, yummiest and healthiest gifts. Berry picking in the summer always brings back wonderful memories for me.

Did you pick berries in the summer as a child? If so, you probably remember the sweltering heat, berry stains on your fingers, pesky bugs and sneaking some fruit before it made it into the bowl.

And when you take the berries home…oh then the fun begins. Party with the berries! Haha. There is really nothing that compares with those fresh, juicy treats.

What to do with them?

I’m really into foraging (I’m sure you haven’t noticed πŸ˜‰) Foraging in itself is great fun. Even better is a chance to preserve that harvest a bit longer and turn it into something scrumptious.

The photos below show the progression of the elderberry tree from flower to fruit.

The elderberries pictured are from harvest #1 and the blackberries are from harvest #2. And there are still more berries! It’s good to leave some for the “critters” anyways ☺

 

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Now I had some berries. I had nearly 2 cups total and then I did a little research.

Ugh.

Many of the elderberries I had painstakingly plucked were not ripe enough. None were green, but some were red and I didn’t want to make anyone sick by using underripe berries.

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Ripe berries are on the left, unripe on the right. The difference is subtle but important enough to take note of. ‡‡

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After properly separating the berries, I decided on making a syrup as per the recipe forΒ Elderberry Syrup on theΒ blog Wayward Spark.Β I loosely followed the recipe and ended up with a tasty finished product. πŸ˜‹

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Here’s what I did. I ended up with a little less than 1 cup of ripe berries. I had a few blackberries in there after *cough* eating some.

They were then mashed a bit, boiled, simmered and strained through cheesecloth.

At this point I had a bit less than 1/4 cup of juice. I neglected to add water at the beginning so I added a bit to make it a full 1/4 cup.

I added a small splash of lemon juice and 1/8 cup of raw honey to the warm juice and then froze attempted to freeze it.

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Psyche! Honey won’t freeze. Good try though I guess. *pats self on the back* I tried to make an apple and elderberry jelly earlier this week and I ended up with caramel-elderberry flavored candy! 😰 Boo. I like these results better.

There it will sit, in the freezer. I’ll take a bit as a tonic now and again to keep colds and flu away. Isn’t it awesome that elderberries can do that?

Ever wondered why?

This article from Huff Post says that the pigments, or “molecular chains known as anthocyanins…[are] capable of preventing viruses from reproducing and infecting new cells. They also kill many of the bacteria that cause chest and respiratory infections.”.

Cool, eh? Nature’s little wonder, the humble elderberry.

Hope you guys are having a good summer ☺ Have you had a chance to go berry picking yet this season?

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A few helpful references for you

https://www.talesfromthekitchenshed.com/2016/09/harvesting-elderberries-picking-preserving-recipes/

(Lots of info on harvesting and preserving.)

http://waywardspark.com/2013-food-preservation-season-elderberry-syrup/

(Recipe I followed.)

12 thoughts on “Foraging for Blackberries & Elderberries {and what I made with them}”

  1. It has been such a blessing to see you grow as a blogger, can I just say that πŸ™‚ I see more confidence, more relaxed. So happy and proud of you, Rachel! I really like blackberries when they are fresh! Elderberries are magic, not really, but kinda πŸ˜‰ . They help with so much! Thanks for sharing!

    I’m going to add this post to Peeking Beneath for the community spotlight πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank-you T.R.! It’s really wonderful to hear you say you think the blog has improved ☺ I do feel more relaxed. Blogging is like anything, bit of hard work and a lot of practice. It’s not always easy to stick with it. I’m thankful for all the posts you’ve shared about blogging, keeping at it and ways to improve. Your advice and things you’ve learned have been so helpful to me.

      Thank-you for adding my post as well! ☺

      Liked by 1 person

  2. (I’m here from T. R.’s community spotlight.) I think I’ve seen elderberries growing around our house. I never knew what they were. I thought they were some sort of poison berries. XD How neat that they are elderberries and are edible! And I’m surprised that they can prevent viruses and kill some bacteria. So cool!! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome, Grace ☺ Elderberries are definitely a neat part of creation! One way that you can kindof tell if something is poisonous is if the birds and bugs are leaving it alone.
      I mistakenly thought that I found huckleberries (edible), but with further reasearch found it was false buckthorn, which is poisonous. Luckily I did not eat any! 😝
      Elderberries are awesome, and I love it that they are such a helpful wild food.

      A bit of a caution here though, they can only be eaten cooked, minus the seeds, which I’ve heard are pretty bitter.
      Thank-you for stopping by & commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. (Sorry it has taken me a while to get back to you – I’ve had a lot going on.) They sure are. πŸ˜€ Oohh, I see. I’ve seen a lot of berries that the birds leave alone.

        I wonder, if I do find some Elderberries, can I take the seeds and plant them? Start my own bushes? Because that would also be fun.

        Wow, I’m so glad you didn’t eat any of those! :O

        I love that too. I had no idea they were so helpful. πŸ™‚ I have heard of Elderberries, but I wasn’t for sure what they looked like until now. (I played a game when I was younger – and sometimes I start it up again even though I’m supposed to be an adult XD – called The Oregon Trail and you can forage for wild edible stuff in the woods. Elderberries were one of the ones you can pick, but the game got Salsify and Dandelions confused, so I never trusted the photos.)

        Ah, I see. Well, if I need to remove the seeds anyway… extra incentive to experiment and see if I can start my own bushes. πŸ˜€

        No problem – I’m so happy to have discovered your blog! πŸ™‚ ❀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s ok Grace πŸ˜„ I’ve done the same myself. It’s a busy time of year with school starting up..the year is going to fly by!

        I imagine you could start your own bushes. Probably just dropping the berries in the desired location would do the trick. Although it is a shrub, so it may take awhile before it would mature. Although I must confess, I don’t know much about growing elderberry shrubs from seed πŸ˜‰ Let me know how it goes, if you do decide to plant.
        Have a wonderful weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Aww, haha. I’m glad I’m not the only one. πŸ™‚ That’s true – I can’t believe we’re already more than halfway through September already! πŸ™‚

        Ooohhh, that sounds so easy. πŸ™‚ And shrubs would be great. I’ll sure let you know how it goes. πŸ˜€

        Thank you – I hope you had a wonderful weekend too. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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