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Pressing elderberries

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Mud

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I was considering how to make a crusher-destemmer for elderberries and wondered why destemming is even necessary. Why not press the screens whole and just keep the juice? Anybody ever do this?

I'm interested in making 45 gallons so hand stripping is put of the question. Advice appreciated.
 

St Allie

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45 gallons?

C..?

you're a legend .

Just the thought of destemming enough berries for that amount.. makes me tired.

only got one small bag of elderberries this year, birds got the rest.... I think I'll just do the elderflowers next year.
 

Julie

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45 gallons?

C..?

you're a legend .

Just the thought of destemming enough berries for that amount.. makes me tired.

only got one small bag of elderberries this year, birds got the rest.... I think I'll just do the elderflowers next year.

G.

Get a fake owl and put it out where your elderberries are. The birds won't come near them.
 

Julie

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I was considering how to make a crusher-destemmer for elderberries and wondered why destemming is even necessary. Why not press the screens whole and just keep the juice? Anybody ever do this?

I'm interested in making 45 gallons so hand stripping is put of the question. Advice appreciated.
I think that would work. I know some people claim that the stems give a bitter taste to the wine but you won't have that problem if there are no stems in the juice.
 

Mud

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Last year I made 6 gallons and could easily have made 10 if not for making a bunch of preserves. I still have access to those same plants and have located about 10x as many new plants on public land mostly. Looks like a bumper year is shaping up.

Since there's no way I can clean them all pressing is the ticket. It will be less efficient probably but no big deal. Trying to figure out a press is the next step. Instead of a bucket type maybe something like a grain mill with opposing rollers? Maybe covered in neoprene? Been consulting with a buddy on another board and he's ding something like this for cherries. Most likely it'll be powered with a long belt off my table saw. :)

If this works I'll be a legend for the longest ever bottling session with a hand corker.
 

Wade E

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There is cyanide in the unripe berries, stems and roots and thats why you are supposed to boil the berries and float the unripe ones out. So pressing the berries as is is a little risky.
 

Mud

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Looking into this, Wade. Might have a solution to the cyanide. Will post more when I get it worked out.
 

Arne

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Last year a buddy of mine had a bunch of elderberries. not as many as you, but somewhere he read to freeze em in ziplock baggies and after a couple of days, cut one end of the bag off. Shake the bag and the berries come off and the stems stay in. Gonna try it with my currents here shortly. If it works will let everybody know. Arne.
 

Mud

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Didn't work for me. The stems broke off and they thawed while I was trying to clean them by hand, creating a sticky mess. Lost about a quart of berries that way. Others report success, though. Good luck.
 

grapeman

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The problem I see with the elderberries with a destemmer is the short stem on the berries. They break off the main flower stem easily and become difficult to remove with any sort of mechanization. Why bother at all with the stems? Simply poot- the green goo. The stems are the source of this substance and if you leave the stems in there, you will have a ton of it.

I can't imagine wanting 45 gallons of elderberry wine......... I have only gotten rid of a few bottles of the only batch I ever made in 2006. Maybe it is getting better now.
 

myakkagldwngr

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The elderberries are a PITA to destem, but I too would be concerned about the stems not being healthy.
Funny the berry is okay, but the young leaves, roots and stems not.
Ours are just starting to show some ripe berries now, but not enough to worry about. They are so plentyful around here I wait until I find one spot that I can get all I want and then hit it.
I find they are ripening here right at the same time that young spiders and stink bugs are at their best, so it's really necessary to clean them good.
Being they are free, I also want to make a lot of E-wine this year.
 

Mud

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Been looking into the chemistry a bit and it seems that adding copper sulfate will react with any cyanide present, creating copper cyanide. Copper cyanide is barely soluble in water and not at all in ethanol. It should drop out of solution and be left behind at racking in the lees.

I have figured out a dosage and am fairly confident this will work as described, but am unwilling to post anything more for safety reasons. For what it's worth this is done with distilled beverages and is perfectly safe because the copper cyanide is not volatile and remains in the boiler. That's where I got the idea.

For what it's worth, I don't think that pressing the berries is going to create much of a concern for cyanide anyway.
 

Mud

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Good info there boss, Pint O?
Not Pint, but over at his place. Got a few pointers and some recommendations on further reading. Bright folks over there.

Great link. Wade posted that a while back but I couldn't find it again. Thanks.
 

ffemt128

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I may try my hand at steam juicing the elderberries when I pick them this year. I ordered a steam juicer and it will be here on Thursday. It will also be my first batch of elderberry wine from fresh berries.
 

Woodbee

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I am on my 5th and 6th batches of elderberry. I started destemming and floating but it was going to take weeks to do up the fifty gallons of berries. So I removed the large stalks and ran them through a cider press. Both the grinder and the press.
Haven't noticed any difference in the two processes. Lots of folks have had my wines from both ways and nobody has mentioned bitterness or death. The grinder on the press grinds apples to a rather large consistency so I doubt that the little stems gave off and nasties.
Brad
 

Boyd

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Last year I steam juiced and pressed the berries.

When pressing, press gently and then add an equal amount of water and press again.

On one batch I used the left over skins in the primary, left them in to long and got a lot of tannin. Did the eggwhite thing and that cleared up. Made 25 gallons plus one of Elderberry/Wild Grape/Blueberry.

Got a 15 gallon jug still perking. I kept adding a small amounts of sugar and think the level of alcohol may have slowed things down. Been almost 6 week since the last addition and it is still bubbling slowly.

Tastes ok tho.

To seperate the berries from the stems feeze them in a large garbage bag and then beat them, with your hands then pick out the large stems, Tem small ones left over don't seem to cause a large problem. Some goo but that is not too hard to remove.
 
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I can't imagine wanting 45 gallons of elderberry wine......... I have only gotten rid of a few bottles of the only batch I ever made in 2006. Maybe it is getting better now.
IMO, elderberry is a good wine. it ages much like a red and there is some complexity to it when it's done. try another bottle and report what you think of it. also, keeping the wine as a semi-dry or semi-sweet will is better for it imo. too sweet and you hide alot of the complexity.
 

granda

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if you need to boil the bery to get rid of cyanide why not press them and then boil the juice ,it'll save all the de-stemming
i was also wondering about pressing them this year as last years was a lovely wine so im gonna make loads this year
 

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