It’s the time of year that we start to see the elderberry trees overflowing with beautiful clusters of flowers, which then transform into the lovely dark globe shaped berries. We often walk past these trees (abundant in the Faversham area!), dripping in fruit, and don’t give a thought to their role.
Elderberries have a number of uses.
Elderberry jam and elderberry jelly are real favourites and the ripened fruits can also be used in pies and muffins. The dried flowers are also steeped in water to prepare elderberry tea and the berries mashed to make elderberry juice or vinegars. We also found this great recipe for elderberry ketchup (similar to a Worcester sauce, but more fruity!), which can be made & used now or stored for use in the game season.
The medicinal benefits of elderberries are being researched.
The bio-flavonoids in the juice are known to lower cholesterol, boost immunity, maintain respiratory systems and help prevent colds & coughs. It has also been claimed that they fight bacterial and viral infections such as tonsillitis. An example of this is elderberry juice being used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in the mid 90s. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, so a good choice for arthritis sufferers.
The wide range of medicinal benefits is largely put down to the enhancement of each individual’s immune system by these berries.