American Elder

American Elder (Sambucus canadensis)

American Elder Identification: American Elder is a native American shrub, growing 5 to 12 feet high. The stems are covered with rough, yellowish-gray bark. The leaves are opposite (paired), compound, with 5 to 11 elliptical to lance-shaped leaflets; shrarply-toothed. Elder Flowers

Numerous small, white, fragrant flowers appear in flat, umbrella-like clusters from June to July. The fruit is a dark purple berry appearing from June to September. The European Elder (Sambucus nigra), though larger than the American Elder has similar characteristics and similar properties.

Habitat: Damp areas and waste places, particularly in the central and eastern United States. Nova Scotia to Georgia; Texas to Manitoba.

Other Names: Black Elder, Common Elder, Elderberry, Rob Elder,
Sweet Elder

Nutrients (Per 100 grams) (Berries)
Calories – 72 Niacin – 0.5 mg. Riboflavin – 0.05 mg.
Calcium – 38 mg. Phosphorus – 28 mg. Thiamin – 0.07 mg.
Fat – 0.5 grams Potassium – 300 mg. Vitamin A – 600 IU
Iron – 1.6 mg Protein – 2.6 grams Vitamin C – 36 mg.

Harvest: Harvest the flowers when fully open by either picking the whole clusters or shaking the older blooms lose in a paper bag. Collect the fruit by breaking off the cluster and setting in water proof containers such as 5 gallon buckets. Elderberries are very easy to collect as the stem breaks off easily. It is a good idea to collect blooms from an area other than where you plan to collect berries later. Harvest flowers in summer and berries in late summer.
Uses: Fritters, jelly, muffins, cold drink, wine, and pies.

Elderberry Jelly #1
3-1/2 cups elderberry juice (about 3-1/2 lbs ripe berries)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
7-1/2 cups sugar
1 pkg powdered fruit pectin

Prepare elderberries by removing large stems. Place in a large kettle; crush. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Strain juice through jelly bag. Measure juice. If you do not have quite enough, add enough apple juice to make 3-1/2 cups. Add lemon juice and return to kettle.
Heat, adding sugar, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add pectin.
Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard 1 minute.
Remove from heat, skim off foam and ladle into hot, sterile jars; seal.
Makes 3 to 4 half pints.

Elderberry Jelly #2
2 quarts elderberries with stems removed
2 cups water
1 box powdered pectin
5 cups sugar

In a saucepan, simmer the elderberries in the 2 cups water until berries are soft. Strain through a cloth or jelly bag. Be sure you have 3-1/2 cups of juice; if not, pour a little water through the crushed berries in the jelly bag.
Return the 3-1/2 cups juice to saucepan. Add pectin to the juice and bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat, skim off foam and pour into hot sterilized jars. Seal with hot paraffin wax immediately, or process in a boiling water bath. Makes 3 to 4 half pints.

Elderberry Pie
2-1/2 cups elderberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt 2 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp lemon juice

Mix elderberries, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Sprinkle with flour and dot with butter. Put in an 8″ pie crust and cover with another crust. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Elderberry Flower Fritters
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 cup milk 1/2 tsp salt
Assorted spices such as nutmeg,
cloves, allspice and cinnamon
Collect the flower clusters, gently wash and dry on a towel. Clip the clusters into smaller sections and dip into the batter. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Elderberry Muffins
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp nutmeg
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup wheat germ
3 Tbsp molasses
1/2 cup dried elderberries

Cream sugar and margarine. Add remaining ingredients and mix until
blended. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 20 minutes in a muffin pan.
Elderberry Wine
20 pounds of stemmed and washed elderberries
5 quarts boiling water
1 pkg wine yeast
10 cups sugar

Mash elderberries in a 5 gallon crock and cover with boiling water. Cover and let stand for 3 days. Strain juice and return to crock adding 10 cups sugar and one package wine yeast. Cover with cheesecloth or an airlock. Let stand in a dark, warm room until fermentation stops. Decant into bottles and store in a cool place for about a year.

Elderflower Wine
3 pints elder flowers (stems)
3 gallons water
10 lbs sugar 2 lbs raisins
Juice of 3 oranges
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pkg wine yeast

Wash and drain the elder flowers and put in large crock (primary
fermentor). Make a syrup of water and sugar, pour over the elder flowers
while hot, cover and let stand for 10 days. Strain and add the raisins.
Cover and let stand for 4 months. Decant the wine and store in a dark,
cool place for 6 months before using.

American Elder also has medicinal properties.

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