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2018 Elderberry thread. The under apreciated fruit.

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Masbustelo

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Who is doing Elderberries this year? How is the harvest. It is pretty prolific in Northern Illinois. I have gathered about 20 pounds so far. What are you going to do with yours?
 

cmason1957

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My wife and I decided not to do elderberries this fall. We picked all the flowers and have an elderflower down in the basement. It is somewhat amazing to me how light and flowery it tastes, when I think about how tannic the elderberry wine is.
 

pgentile

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Made an elderberry back in January from concentrate and dried berries. At six months it's pretty good. I have access to elderberry bushes this year and should be able to freeze 5-10 lbs of fresh berries. Checked out the berries this afternoon, not ripe here yet, another week or two and I'll start picking.
 

JustJoe

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Elderberries ripen a little later in Minnesota but they have started now. I have 10 pounds so far.
A question for the elderberry fans - is there an easy way to destem elderberries? I have been doing it by hand and that works ok but we expect to do more than 50 pounds this year. any better idea is greatly appreciated!
 

Masbustelo

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Justjoe I tediously pick them off with a fork. It gives me something to do during Cubs games. What is your plan for 50 pounds? CMason why no elderberry this year? And you think Elderflower is worth the effort? What is it similar to?
 

wpt-me

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I've read Mountaineer Jack ?? use to use a screen over a pail, rubbing the berries over it.

Bill
 

Stressbaby

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25# so far, probably another 20# in the yard if I want them. The elderberry port from last year is frankly better than the wine so may go with more port this time around.

It's a wire cooling rack like you'd use for cookies - and it works very well, it's what I use.
 

JustJoe

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Justjoe I tediously pick them off with a fork. It gives me something to do during Cubs games. What is your plan for 50 pounds? CMason why no elderberry this year? And you think Elderflower is worth the effort? What is it similar to?
I make a wine with a 50/50 mix of elderberries and chokecherries. It's a great wine even if I have to spend hours stripping stems.
 

cmason1957

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Justjoe I tediously pick them off with a fork. It gives me something to do during Cubs games. What is your plan for 50 pounds? CMason why no elderberry this year? And you think Elderflower is worth the effort? What is it similar to?
50 lbs is nothing. The last two years from our bushes we got about 125 lbs. Picked off with a fork then frozen.

A couple of reasons for no elderberry, 1) enough wine in basement to drink at least one bottle per day and last for three years, so wife and I decided just to stay the or for kids this fall, no grapes, no berries; 2) bought a half cow and a whole hog, no freezer room and we decided something would be wrong with us, if we bought another freezer for fruit ; 3) decided to pull off the majority of the flowers for the elderflower.

Is Elderflower worth it, too early to tell for sure. The first taste was very interesting, very floral. Maybe reminded me of a thicker tastier Traminette. Maybe like a gewzrtraminer (which I obviously have no chance of spelling right). I would make it again, at this point.
 

Masbustelo

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CMason What is your opinion of aged Elderberry? Does it keep getting better over time? Do you think it is an overlooked under appreciated wine, when made from the berries and not just juice? You must like it if you cleaned 125 pounds. Do you think it matters, removing the fine stems that get left with the fork method?
 

cmason1957

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I think it just ages very gracefully. I don't have an upper limit of time. I think our first elderberry, we have 1 or 2 bottles left from 2012 or 13. We found one a few months ago and it was still very good, but might have peaked. I do think it is a very under appreciated wine, when made from berries. I haven't ever made it from just juice, but I don't juice anything. Freeze and thaw with some hot sugar water. I think that extracts the most from any fruit. I don't think you have to get all the little bits of stem out of your must. My wife and I tried one, still got the dreaded green goo and I belive that year ended up adding some extra tannin to the wine later on. It was just lacking.
 

Stressbaby

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Stressbaby What were the basics of the Elderberry wine you made? Also basics for the port?
https://honest-food.net/elderberry-wine-recipe/
This is my basic recipe. 5# berries per gallon. I do simmer them, though this is controversial, but I'm convinced it helps with extraction and significantly reduces the goo. I also cold soak 3 days. My ingredient list from last year:
  • 29# elderberries
  • 10# 4oz sugar
  • 6t pectic
  • 80g tartaric
  • 21q water
  • 6g Opti Red
  • 7g Booster Rouge
  • 1g Lallzyme EX
For the port, when the main batch got to 1.004 I racked most of it to carboy, but then racked just over 1 gallon off to a smaller bucket. I added 320g sugar to get it to 1.030, fermented it back down, then another 320g sugar to get it back to 1.030 again. It stopped at 1.014 which I calculated to be 3.6% RS and ABV 16.1% (used K1-V1116). Then added 7.5oz Everclear to bump ABV to 19% and hit with KMS. Since then just aging with a little oak in form of cubes.
 

meadmaker1

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Elderberries ripen a little later in Minnesota but they have started now. I have 10 pounds so far.
A question for the elderberry fans - is there an easy way to destem elderberries? I have been doing it by hand and that works ok but we expect to do more than 50 pounds this year. any better idea is greatly appreciated!
I read somewhere but haven't tried it, but the artical said to freeze the berries stem and all, them remove them from freezer -
grab the stem and tap the clusters against the side of an empty bucket, the berries should fall off. Them refreeze until you accumulate the amount you need.
 

cmason1957

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I read somewhere but haven't tried it, but the artical said to freeze the berries stem and all, them remove them from freezer -
grab the stem and tap the clusters against the side of an empty bucket, the berries should fall off. Them refreeze until you accumulate the amount you need.
I tried doing it that way one year, actually was forced into it, we bought berries from someone and they were ready to pick when we were out of the state, so they tossed them into the freezer stem and all. I didn't find that they come off all that much easier than taking them off with a fork when fresh.
 

garymc

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JustJoe, I couldn't get the quote thing to work. Here's a cake or cookie pan cooling rack used for picking elderberries. If I can do a picture. You kind of fling the bract onto the wires at a diagonal angle coming up or going down. It takes some practice and experimentation.
 

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pgentile

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I have access to elderberry bushes this year and should be able to freeze 5-10 lbs of fresh berries. Checked out the berries this afternoon, not ripe here yet, another week or two and I'll start picking.
Upon further investigation it turns out what I thought was elderberry turns out to be pokeberry. Glad I looked into this further.
 

cmason1957

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Upon further investigation it turns out what I thought was elderberry turns out to be pokeberry. Glad I looked into this further.
Oh yes you are glad you figured that out. I have heard of folks making a wine of some sort from it, but I also know all parts of the plant are poisonous to one degree or another, including the flesh of the berries and anything made from them.
 

JustJoe

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JustJoe, I couldn't get the quote thing to work. Here's a cake or cookie pan cooling rack used for picking elderberries. If I can do a picture. You kind of fling the bract onto the wires at a diagonal angle coming up or going down. It takes some practice and experimentation.
Thanks! The picture helped a lot. I am going to try that tomorrow when I pick another 5 or 6 pounds.
 

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