We hear a lot about drinks and food made with elderflower, but I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed anything in a shop or restaurant made with elderberries. They are a great little wild food though and can make a tasty addition to any berry recipe.
how to forage for elderberries
Elderberries are not really a ‘pick, wash and ready’ wild food like blackberries. They can be eaten ‘raw’ and they don’t bother me, but they can cause some people to feel sick if not cooked first, so I would not advise it! They do taste loads better when you actually cook with them too.
Like blackberries, elderberries are ready for picking when the berries turn black. They grow on a small tree and the berries grow in bunches, which can just be snapped off the plant and the individual berries can be plucked off later. As with all foraging, don’t take more than you think you will use, you need to leave some for the wildlife and the fairies. I only picked a couple of bunches the first time we went foraging for them and that was enough for a good few recipes.
what elderberries look like:
The elderberries in Rabbitswood started to ripen towards the end of August but it looks like there will be loads more to come in September.
cooking with elderberries
First things first, give them a good wash (I think it’s easier to wash the whole bunch together before taking the individual berries off). Then take the berries off the stalk and have a go at adding them to your cooking and baking.
As with all the yummy things I make in my foraging year, I will be writing all the recipes up for you to try at the end of it. This is something I made last week with them:
rabbitswood berry and banana smoothie
Our children loved the delicious Rabbitswood berry and banana smoothie. Perfect for cooling down on a hot day.
Enjoy your elderberry foraging and please let us know how you get on in the comments below. I’ll be sure to update this post with other Elderberry yummies. So stay tuned!