Elder native herb! pick herb of the year!
Elderberry plants are covered with fruit both in the garden and in the wild. According to herb society member Elyse Cramer the scrawny one one she bought this spring has so much fruit the branches needed to be tied up and it is still blooming. Once she took it out of the pot and planted it in her garden it doubled and began blooming.
The common elderberry is a native and of the family that has been chosen Herb of the Year for 2013 by the International Herb Association. The Herb Society of America has also published Essential Guide to Elderberry. I have a few in shop and you can also get it online from the herb scoiety.
When I was a young teen I picked elderberries along the creek and around our irrigation pond to make jelly. My first attempts at making jelly as a 4-H project colored my mother's white tile kitchen many shades of purple. (She did get it all out with bleach, but not before warning me to not make dark colored jam again.) Since the same thing happened when i made black berry jam I just had to learn to be a lot more careful when making jams or jelly.
The berries must be cooked and are good when used in juices, jellies, jams, teas, pies, and wine, but most people do not use them. Some time these products are available in health food stores or online.
I have read and been told that you can also use the umbrella-shaped, elderberry blossoms for making a delicious fritters, but should never use any green part of the plant, including roots, leaves, twigs or even the seeds of the berries.. I have not used the blooms , but others tell me they are good in many ways. I did taste a delicious liquor made from them.
This native plant Sambucus canadensis has been used since ancient times by the native people. Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America as well as all over the world because of its medicinal benefits. Elderberries are one of the easiest and most versatile native shrubs you can add to your landscape. They do need a little room as they can become as large as a lilac clump, but they have fragrant, edible flowers and fruits full of vitamins A , B, and more vitamin C than oranges. I have read that they are high in cancer-fighting antioxidants. Since they gave long used to to treat respiratory problems, colds, and flus many health food business sell the capsules. Elderberry is valued for its antioxidant benefits and its ability to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections. It is said by many natural medicine advocates that the juice destroys cold and flu germs.
However there is some discussion about eating the raw berries. Many insist you must cook first or they will make you sick, If you read about it on google you will think it is a real miracle cure. I must admit Ted and I are buying elderberry products and taking the capsules and tried the juice and wine.
Our herb society of America, South Jersey Unit has a native plants study group that studied elderberry. One member Norma brought elderberry wine and another Luann made delicious treats with the juice and the wine of elderberry including frozen elderberry wine sorbet.
Since elderberry is so very easy to grow, homeowners can have it in natural borders for the birds or in sunny spots to harvest as a fruit. It will grow in most types of soils, but a good watering once a week will insure a heavy crop of berries. Compost and mulch will help to keep the root cool.
|elderberry are still blooming and setting fruit,Plant one now.|
In European folklore, fairies and elves would appear if you sat underneath an elder bush on midsummer night. Plant one now and mark your calendar for then next midsummer's eve.
|elder berry flower fairy, we have these Cicely Mary Barker flower fairy books and cards|