Flavor Profile and Uses
- Fresh, ripe berries are tart, tangy, and bitter but are tasty when sweetened and combined with other flavors in recipes and tea blends
- Note: Berries should be cooked and have their seeds removed before being eaten
- Both leaves and berries are diaphoretic, help promote sweating, and reduce fevers
- Stimulates immune systems, antiviral, and is commonly used to treat flues, colds, and respiratory infections
- Highly nutritious, rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C, and a strong antioxidant
- Found in moist areas with very rich soil and full sun – partial shade
- A perennial deciduous shrub that grows up to 10’ tall and produces clusters of small, white flowers that form umbels at the apex of the plant
- Berries are clustered, tiny, shiny, smooth and a deep purple color
- Elder leaves are pinnately compound and made up of groups of 5 – 7 leaflets
- Blooms in July and sets berries in August
- Flowers can be harvested on dry, sunny days as they begin opening – the longer they are left on the branch, the less medicinal value they retain – simply snap them off the bush and dry on a rack
- Pick berries when they become dark blue-ish back and shiny, then de-stem and separate them from their clusters by hand
- Preserve berries by drying on a rack for tea blends, freezing, or processing into syrup, etc.
Carpenter, Jeff, and Carpenter, Melanie. The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2015.