Picking Elderberries

Today we walked to the beach and got ourselves an extra bonus, when we discovered a patch of ripe elderberries. We did not have any containers, but we dug out a plastic bag and filled it to the max. Picking elderberries is something that I used to do with my parents, so it took me back to my childhood. As far as I can remember my family has sworn by the healing powers of elderberry juice and soups, and so it is a treat to be able to carry on this tradition with our kids.

wild elderberries

You can find our best tips for where to find wild elderberries in this post. Here in North Florida the berries ripen earlier than in up north, but this is the perfect time to go out and scout for white elderberry flowers, as the elderberry shrubs get harder to find, once the berries start appearing first green, and then dark purple.

picking elderberries

It was the older boys who made the first elderberry discovery, and they soon started competing about who could reach the highest, most full elderberry clusters. The younger kids then competed about who first found more elderberries, and the result was a full bag.

elderberries in a bag

We found these elderberries on the street leading to the beach on the edge of a swampy area.They were facing South, which is quite common, and there were so many that we will definitely have to be back very soon as more ripens.

elderberries at the beach

My childhood friend reminded me that elderberries are poisonous to eat raw and need to be cooking first. She makes elderberry flower juice, which is another way to take advantage of the healthy and nutritious elderberries.

Not only are the raw berries of the elderberry plant poisonous, but so are the bark and leaves and these can all cause stomach problems. It is important to remind kids about this, as the dark purple berries can be very tempting for little hands. 

A while ago one of our neighbors stopped us, when he saw us planting elderberry shrubs in front of our house. He said his mother was Native American, and they used elderberries and elderberry flowers for medicinal purposes.

Today we'll clean the berries, but since we're going back for more elderberries next weekend, we'll freeze these in order to make one big batch of elderberry juice next week.

To clean the berries we soak them in water and then separate the elderberries from the stem as well as sort off the green immature berries.

cleaning elderberries

While we are not doctors, we believe so strongly in the immune boosting and virus-fighting qualities that we also try to supplement with elderberry virus during flu season, and because of the Covid-19 pandemic we try to do everything we can .

If you don't have the patience or ability to make your own elderberry juice, we can recommend this elderberry juice. It's a lot cheaper to make your own elderberry juice, and we strongly prefer to do so, but we do usually run out of our own, which we use to add to our fruit smoothies as an immune booster, and whenever we do run out of our homemade elderberry juice this elderberry juice concentrate from NOW foods is the one we use.

Read all of our Elderberry Articles:

How To Find and Grow Elderberries

How To Make Elderberry Juice

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