I would consider my “culinary point of view” to be – one of a sneaky cook. My goal is to make dishes that my family will eat, AND that are good for them. As my children get older, at times that is hard to accomplish. Elderberries are an amazing healing food. They taste wonderful. First off, picking them is quite an easy task, a pair of clippers and I think it took me 15 minutes, along with pictures, and smelling the wonders of the woods. I live on the “EAST SIDE” of the cascades, I still have to drive a little to harvest these beauties. What a great reason to take a drive. The fruit harvest is in full swing here, nectarines, peaches, apples, hazelnuts and walnuts are coming on. Fall always fills me with a sense of gratitude for the abundance of this valley.
I will not go into the medicinal use of this plant, as Kate has already done a magnificent article about its use. I will start with a basic syrup recipe; this will keep in the fridge for 3 months. It can also be frozen, or canned, however the enzymes in the honey are destroyed when you can the juice. My old stand by for preserving food is Putting Food By by Janet Greene.
3 cups elderberries (blue or black, not red)
2 cups water
Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Mash berries, strain, add 1 cup honey, return to pan and simmer 5 minutes. Cool and store in jars in refrigerator.
This syrup can be used for pure enjoyment, for ice cream, shortcake, smoothies, yogurt…. (Medicinally- eat up to 4 teaspoons a day)
From this batch I made:
Poached Bosc Pears, in Elderberry syrup
Mead Hazelnut encrusted Chicken with Elderberry sauce
I also put up canned Peaches with Elderberries and Honey Elderberry Jelly And……..
Nectarine and Elderberry Cobbler
7 cups fruit
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup sugar (sweeten to taste, sweetener of choice)
Mix together and place in baking dish. Heat in 400* oven till juices are bubbling around the edges. Then add topping and bake another 20 minutes or until golden brown.
1 ½ cups unbleached flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp salt
6 Tbl. Butter (coconut oil, or organic shortening -palm oil)
¾ cup liquid (heavy cream, butter milk, milk, almond milk…)
Mix dry ingredients. If using whole wheat pastry flour, the liquid will absorb differently. Use less liquid. Also, use less liquid if your choice of liquid is a thinner consistency (like almond milk). The dough should look like drop biscuit dough, not too wet. I prefer my dough a little dry. This is my master cobbler recipe; feel free to substitute other fruit.
Enjoy the celebration and harvest of fall! Ann
*Note- Elderberry seeds are considered slightly toxic untill cooked, so please cook your berries (as in all of these recipes) or strain the juice before using.