Three of the best elderberry recipes

Make the most of dark, fragrant elderberries while they’re in season.

Cooking with elderberries can get messy but it’s worth it. They’re full of health-giving properties and have been used medicinally for centuries. There are lots of elderberry recipes out there but here are our favourites.

Elderberries ripen between July and October depending on where you are in the UK (Photo: David Boag/Alamy)
Elderberries ripen between July and October depending on where you are in the UK (Photo: David Boag/Alamy)

Elderberry identification: a quick guide

  • Shrub or small tree
  • Pinnate leaves with 5 or 7 toothed leaflets
  • Leaflets oppositely arranged
  • Pale, corky bark
  • Clusters of small purple-black berries on red-pink stalks.
  • Berries ripen July-October depending on where you live

 

Get more elder identification tips and watch our film a year in the life of elder

Elderberry recipes

Picking tips

Pick the clusters by breaking off the large stem – they should snap off of the branches easily. Shake off any insects.

The easiest way to remove the berries from the stalks is to strip them using the prongs of a fork. If you can’t use them straight away the berries can be frozen and used later.

Photo: iStock/Mike Dabell
Photo: iStock/Mike Dabell

Elderberry syrup

Elderberries and ginger may have anti-viral properties, so get ready for winter and make a stash of George Anderson’s elderberry syrup.

It's easy to make and you can eat it by the spoonful, drizzle onto porridge and yogurt, or add a dash to fizzy wine.

See the elderberry syrup recipe.

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Photo: Alamy/Neil Monery
Photo: Alamy/Neil Monery

Hedges and edges hedgerow jam

Made from fruits foraged from hedgerows and woodland. The gentle cooking produces a fabulously fruity-flavoured jam.

You can vary the proportions of fruits, but you need to add the apples for the pectin.

Try our hedges and edges jam recipe.

Photo: iStock/Dejan Kolar
Photo: iStock/Dejan Kolar

Elderberry wine

When the weather turns colder, and you find yourself in front of the fire, it's the perfect time to enjoy a glass of elderberry wine.

Patience is required. Like red wine grapes they are high in tannin and so the wine needs time to mature.

See our elderberry wine recipe.

Join Nature's Calendar

Let us know when you see ripe elderberries