Elderberry secrets

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Dutch Winemaker
Nov 5, 2006
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The elderberries are just starting to ripen over here. And I already picked about 4 kilo !! :D

Now you can make an excellent wine from elderberries (even a port-like wine) but you have to take care of some things:

a) Elderberries HAVE TO BE COOKED as there is sambunigrin acid in them
which may be poisonous to some of us. By cooking the elderberries for 15 minutes the sambunigrin acid will decompose and the berries are perfectly safe to sonsume (or make wine).

b) You have to separate the ripe berries from the unripe.
Now you can do that by hanpicking (a tedious work) as you will know the difference from color: greens are unripe black and deep purple are ripe.

But the easiest way to seperate ripe from unripe berries I learned from an old winemaker.

Pour a bottom of berries in a bucket and pour cold water over them. Now stir well and the unripe berries will float atop. Ripe berries have a higher sugar content and therefore will submerge. Unripe berries have a lower sugar content and therefore a lower SG and will float.

For a photo session, floating berries and my recipes visit please my web-log because it is to much to publish here.

Luc Volders

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