How To Make Elderberry Juice

In our family we swear by the healing powers of elderberries and elderberry juice. We are not doctors or health professionals, and we can only go by our own experience and the anecdotal evidence of our family, friends and ancestors, but we always load up on elderberries, whenever it is flu time and these days we get a dose of elderberries every week because of Covid 19.

We are huge fans of elderberries, so much in fact that we are on a rescue mission to rescue the wild elderberry shrubbery in our neighborhood, before these disappear due to development. We have created an elderberry windbreak at our house, we have transplanted many elderberry shrubs to The Land, and we've dug up several elderberry shoots for our neighbors to plant in their gardens as well. We've actually had neighbors tell us that growing up they used to have elderberry plants grow wild in the back of their gardens, but that they ripped them out, because they did not know what to use them for. Now, they're replanting...

When we first discovered all of the elderberry plants in our neighborhood, we started hunting for the best juicing pot. It took a while, and we read numerous reviews, before we finally decided to invest in the same type of juice pot that we grew up with. We decided on getting the Giantex 11 Quart Juice Steamer, and it was just what we needed. 

elderberries and apples in juicer pot

We have owned this juicing pot for more than a year, and it has lived up to all of our expectations. It is simple and easy to use, we have not encountered any rust issues (as we do with many stainless-steel products here in Florida), and we have used it numerous times. It can be used to make any kind of juice, and we sometimes add things from the garden such as muscadine grapes, blueberries or beets.


Growing up, warm elderberry soup would be served on cold fall nights, especially during flu season. We had to change this up a bit, since hot soup does not work too well in Florida, and so we decided to freeze our elderberry juice to use for our weekly (and sometimes bi-weekly) immune-boosting fruit smoothies and to put in our morning tea.

eldeberry juice in ice cube containers

We simply freeze the juice in ice cube containers and then transfer these into a larger container in the freezer or leave them in a bag. It is so easy to add these to our smoothies and teas, and you can hardly taste the tartness of the elderberries mixed with all the other fruity goodness or the honey in our tea.


frozen elderberry ice cubes

Making elderberry juice is a process which takes patience, but the result is a healthy juice that you cannot buy in stores, and if you do find it, it is extremely expensive. If you can't find fresh wild elderberries, you can look for dried elderberries online or at your local health food store, or you can purchase an elderberry juice concentrate online. We use this elderberry juice from Now Foods, which comes from an American family farm. We believe that the fresh, wild elderberries make the best juice, but if we run out, we usually buy a bottle of this elderberry juice concentrate.


cleaned elderberries

How To Make Elderberry Juice:

  1. Gather your elderberries
  2. Rinse, clean and separate the elderberries from the stems.
  3. Put the elderberries into the top colander of your juicer pot.
  4. For every half gallon of elderberries, add 4 - 6 cleaned, cut up (preferably organic), apples.
  5. Fill up the bottom pot with water (you can add a couple of clean marbles to make sure you can hear if your pot runs out of water)
  6. Turn the heat to high, then lower to middle heat, once the water starts boiling. 
  7. Make sure that your clamped hose is raised to prevent spills. We usually lift it up a bit, and leave it resting on top of a container in the sink, in case any drops start before we discover it. 
  8. Once you see the dark purplish juice appear in the clamped hose, you can start filling up your containers for storage.
  9. It takes several hours of steaming the elderberries to get every last drop, so make sure you schedule your elderberry-juice making for a day you have ample time to do so.



elderberry juice from steamer


Elderberry Juice Tips

  • Do not ingest raw elderberries! Elderberries need to be cooked, or they are poisonous to humans and will cause an irritated stomach.
  • If you have a hard time collecting enough elderberries all at once, simply rinse your berries, separate these from the stems and freeze them in a container. As you discover more, or as more berries ripen, you can simply add these to the container in the freezer until you feel that you have enough.
  • If you find that some of your elderberry clusters are not fully ripe, you can always stick them in a glass of water in the window to ripen and dry them.
  • Add apples to your elderberry juice to lessen the tartness, add sweetness and to thicken the juice. This is a tip that has been handed down in my family for several generations. 
  • Freeze elderberries in ice cube containers to add to your tea or smoothies.
  • Once cooked, the elderberry leftovers are great to use in the compost bin. 

The Juicer Pot

If you have access to an abundance of wild elderberries, you can use it in lots of different recipes. My dad makes an elderberry soup, where he adds lots of sugar and eats it warm with some dried, toasted bread crumbs. You can also make elderberry jams, pies, syrup and more.



Read all of our Elderberry Articles:

How To Find and Grow Elderberries

Picking Elderberries


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Did your family make elderberry juice when you were growing up?

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