Forage Friday #114 Elderberry

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Elderberry 62321a” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.

There are few plants in the world that carry the reputation of the Elderberry bush. They are associated with sweet treats, powerful medicine, deadly poison and even music. As a child while walking the fences with my grandfather we noticed an elderberry bush growing up through the fence and being the inquisitive youngster that I was I asked him about berries. He grinned widely and began to recount how growing up in the Great Depression he had elderberry for breakfast. On those occasions when they had breakfast cereal and the elderberry was available he along with his brothers and sisters would sprinkle a few elderberries in their breakfast. He reached out and shook one of the berry clusters into his hand to obtain a small sample for me to try. And they were delicious!

Now I should probably point out that there are different varieties of elderberries. Red varieties of elderberry have to be cooked to rid them of toxins and all varieties carry a toxin in the stems, roots and bark that induces cyanide poisoning. Fortunately the fruit of native elderberries that are black or purple is edible straight from the bush and it’s those varieties that I’m focusing on in this post.

Elderberries as an edible are extremely versatile. They can be eaten as described above. Juiced and enjoyed as a drink Elderberries provide a powerhouse of antioxidants. A cup of the raw berries provide large amounts of vitamins A and C as well as iron, calcium, Potassium and folate. That same cup of little black berries will also give you about a third of the recommend fiber.

A shot of the Elderberry flower and leaves. Notice that the leaves are compound leaves and grow in the opposite pattern.

Traditionally the flowers are also edible as fritters. A simple egg and flower batter with a little salt and pepper to taste and fried in butter is a great addition for most meals. No need to worry too much about the toxins since they are cooked out but don’t include too much stem. This video has little bit more of a fancy recipe than the basic one I described but it looks awesome.

Going back to the berries a few good ideas I’ve encountered have been various sauces and jams. One in particular that was mentioned was an elderberry sauce that was served hot over vanilla ice cream.

And if you have a simple syrup you can add it to carbonated water for a unique soft drink.

Elderberry is also made into a medicinal syrup. It’s my understanding that doing this with low heat is important to preserve the phenols that are responsible for the medicinal values. According to PubMed a randomized study of elderberry extract shows that people using the elderberry recover four days sooner from the flu than those who got the placebo.

Early in my interest in the medicinal values of plants I came across a compound that called for one part mint, one part yarrow and one part elderberry flowers. ( the dried flowers lose their toxins just like when they’re cooked. ) over using yarrow can lead to sun sensitivity so please do further research before attempting this compound.

Propagation of elderberry is fairly simple. Take a cutting about eighteen inches long. The cut should be on a forty five degree angle and about two inches below the buds. Jam it into fertil moist soil and let it grow.

Friends that’s it for tonight. Good night and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

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