With a  have a huge elderberry bush in the corner of the property, every summer I always enjoy making preserves and  syrups.

Elderberries are extremely high in vitamin C.  The berries contain more vitamin C than any other herb except rosehips and black currant.   The bush and berries are steeped in folklore and offer many a remedy for a slew of ailments.  Not only growing your own food but “pharmacy” too!

The syrup is great to take during the flu season and there’s no need for a “spoonful of sugar” to help this “medicine go down!”

Elderberries are known to have “antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis.” – HerbWisdom.com 

This year, I tried a more “European” style preserve that doesn’t require straining out the seeds and skins (I believe the skins are the healthiest part!).    And with our very own small orchard of apple trees, I used  homegrown apples instead of pectin.



450g (1lb) elderberries, stripped from stems
225g (8oz) cooking apples, peeled and chopped
150ml (1/4 pt) water
juice of 2 lemons
2 sprigs of lemon balm (I substituted Lemon Verbena)
675g (1 1/2 lb) sugar

Put all the ingredients into a pan and simmer until a small quantity, put on a plate, wrinkles when cold. Remove balm. Pour into hot sterilized jars and cover.

Recipe courtesy of



  1. Jeni Vandall says:

    Sounds delicious!!! I think I must try some!

  2. Beverly says:

    I wonder if this would work for red elderberry as well? We have hundreds of them growing wild in the park near our house.

    • Abraham says:

      Red Elderberries a toxin and should not be eaten

  3. Jill Pittman says:

    Thanks for the new elderberry recipe. I can’t wait to try it. We have a large elderberry thicket on our property and also forage for more in the wild. I love to make jelly, syrup and wine from those lucious purple berries. I used to make the jelly for two of my Scottish great-aunts, who said it reminded them of home. It’s amazing how many people in this country that have no idea that those funny looking trees have such wonderful fruit on them.

  4. Abraham says:

    What Species of elder is this? Is it the European or the local Mexican or Blue Elderberry Bush

    • Anais says:

      European. Though we have loads of the Mexican one growing wild in the hills

  5. Mitzy says:

    Since I am old and my last name is Berry, does that make me an “elder” Berry?

  6. jo an says:

    I am sooo inspired by the DERVAES Endeavor.

    I do an IONS Honolulu Community Group and we have a group called, ‘GROW WHERE YOU ARE’….I was in Cuba last Oct., inspired by their Power of Community film, www.
    communitysolution.org. This is the story of how Cuba has become 70% organic farming as a result of Russia’s fall which took Cuba’s source of oil and fertilized.

    I think the Dervaes Story is a very positive model for the planet.

  7. Sasha Bley-Vroman says:

    The flowers of the European elder make a wonderful drink. Don’t forget you are supposed to ask Mother Elder’s permission before you take her flowers or fruit.

  8. MetricCook says:

    Wow, thanks for the Metric recipe, they are hard to come by in the States, but what was the original measurement? Here is a better Metric recipe vs your odd (small) units.

    500 g elderberries, stripped from stems
    250 g cooking apples, peeled and chopped
    125 mL water
    juice of 2 lemons
    2 sprigs of lemon balm (I substituted Lemon Verbena)
    750 g sugar

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