Win a copy of 5 Acres & a Dream this week in the Homestead forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Mike Haasl
  • James Freyr
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Kate Downham
  • Jay Angler
  • thomas rubino

Pacific northwest's native red and blue elderberries

 
gardener
Posts: 1896
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
808
hugelkultur kids forest garden fungi trees books bike homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was wondering if anyone had experience harvesting for food or medicine the berries (or other parts of the plant) from either of the 2 elderberries that are native to Western Washington. The 2 types of elderberries are a red elderberry and a blue elderberry.

Blue Elderberry Sambucus nigra ssp. cerulea: http://nativeplantspnw.com/blue-elderberry-sambucus-nigra-ssp-cerulea/

Red Elderberry Sambucus racemosa: http://nativeplantspnw.com/red-elderberry-sambucus-racemosa/

I have both of them growing on my property but I haven't tried to harvest them yet. They grow in very different habitats from each other. The blue grows in fairly dry areas and likes more sun than the red which tends to grow as an understory plant but also along forest edges. The red seems to like more moist conditions.

I planted the blue along some hugelkultur hedgerows that were built along a dirt road on an old gravel parking area. They're doing great there and have grown a ton. I got the reds from my parents forest and so far those I have planted in shadier areas and they're doing okay. But I also have a couple reds that were already growing on my property when I bought it. One is right in a wetland area where the soil stays saturated for most of the fall, winter and spring. The other is growing on a fence line where it gets some shelter from other plants.

Anyways, I was just curious if anyone had experience getting harvests from either of these 2 species of elderberries.

Thanks!
 
Author
Posts: 69
25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Blue can be used similarly to canadensis - jams, syrups, spirits, etc. for the berries, skin care stuff from leaves and other parts, flowers also great for teas, etc.


 
gardener
Posts: 770
Location: Western Washington
202
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've harvested blue. People use them extensively here. Red are toxic I am told, though I hear people fry the flowers as fritters
 
master steward
Posts: 11370
Location: Pacific Northwest
4828
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've eaten the red elderberry flowers and added them to smoothies. The processing they require just has never been worth it to me. I have an amazing amount of red elderberries on my property, but have never found a use for them.
 
gardener
Posts: 950
282
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The blue/nigra are amazing medicine, and if you're willing to harvest & process them, they'll bring you some decent change - if you don't decide they're too good to sell, lol. I have to buy them, and have only been able to find them dried. I make syrups and teas with them, using them interchangeably, for cold and flu abatement and immune bolstering. But, the syrup is also just a great topping on pancakes, waffles, or icecream, and the tea is tasty, too.
 
pollinator
Posts: 474
Location: Montana
148
forest garden trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like using the blue in jelly. You can use other fruits for more juice like apples, plums, and pears. Blue Elderberries are pretty strong and it makes for some good jelly even as a portion of a mix.

I made a couple pies once from berries I dried. They were pretty good, but my grandpa seemed to like them the most. Elderberry apple pie seemed better to most of us but grandpa liked the pie that was straight elderberry.
 
That new kid is a freak. Show him this tiny ad:
A rocket mass heater heats your home with one tenth the wood of a conventional wood stove
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!