It’s early spring and time to plant an elderberry tree in your yard. The elderberry is one of the easiest plants to start from cuttings. Cuttings will quickly grow roots, so no need to invest in a rooted plant
Elderberry cuttings are only available during the winter dormant season till very early spring.
Store them in the fridge until planting.
Here is a Canadian supplier you can order from if you are not able to source cuttings from friends or your local neighborhood.
Both the European elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and the American elderberry (Canadensis) have medicinal properties.
You must grow both varieties (Sambucus Nigra or Sambucus Canadensis) for cross-pollination and a fruit-bearing crop.
Elderberries prefer moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 with full to part sun. Plant the elderberry cuttings in the ground at the same depth as their roots.
Add organic matter, and feed with fertilizer or compost each year in the early spring.
COOKING WITH ELDERBERRIES
Only use fully ripe dark purple/blue berries, never use red elderberries.
The leaves and branches are both toxic, so take care not to mix them in with the berries.
Always cook elderberries before consumption because heat breaks down the acid.
Never cook them in a pot with a lid on.
You can make cordials, syrups, jellies, tinctures, and wine with elderberries.
- 1/2 cup dried elderberries
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
Place elderberries and water in a pot on the stove. Cook for 20 minutes.
Mash the berries to help them release the juice.
Strain the syrup, making sure to push down the berries to extract all the juice.
Cool slightly. While still warm, add honey and apple cider vinegar. Stir well.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.
Elderberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which benefit the immune system.
Don’t use a pot with a lid as the hydrocyanic acid in the berries needs to cook out.
Experiment a little: add honey, cinnamon, rose hips, ginger, astragalus root, orange peel, or clove to the syrup.