The elderberries are just starting here in northeastern Wisconsin. In fact, the chickens got quite a few that were just not quite ripe. When they are ripe, they come right off the stem when you gently squeeze, pull and twist the berries between your thumb and forefinger. (Some people use a fork to strip them.) It's tedious work, but so worth it. I will be putting up enough elderberries for 3 gallons of elderberry wine, a new elderberry jam recipe I want to try, and, elderberry syrup for all the grandkids for the winter.
|Picked and ready to stem (de-stem? -- you know -- take the berries off the stem :-)|
|I try not to be a perfectionist. There's plenty of berries that hang on to the stems.|
These get recycled to the chickens. A great treat for them.
|4 quarts of elderberries.|
I will can some syrup in 1/2 pint jars -- just enough for one person for a couple of days during a cold. A pint could easily be too much and I don't want any wasted after all the hard work. But, this first batch will be for the freezer, just for the grandkids. They can store it in their freezer :-)
Strain off the juice through a dish towel lined colander. Let it sit for 20 minutes. For each quart of berries you should end up with 2 cups of juice. For each cup of juice add in 1 TBL. of lemon juice. Now it's up to you how sweet you want it and what sweetener to use. Don't use maple syrup if you are going to can it. Don't use honey for children under 2. Because this batch is "Black Ice Cream Vitamins" and it is specifically for sick kids who may need to be enticed to eat it, I did use sugar. 3/4 cup to a cup of juice -- I know it sounds like a lot, but those berries are a bit tart. They only will be eating 3 or 4 spoonfuls a day when sick.
|16 half pints of Black Ice Cream Vitamins|
ready for the freezer. (I left a good 1 inch headspace)
Grandbabies should be covered for the winter.
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