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Preparing Elderberries

 
gardener
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I am very particular about cleaning elderberries. I rinse them multiple times, then refill bowl with water and remove any berries that float. There seems to be some good berries that float as well as the under ripen ones and some under ripe ones that never float, so I don't know about my method there. Afterwards, I spread them in a single layer and use tweezers to pluck out any more under ripe berries and any remaining stem pieces. Very time consuming! Is there an easier way? Am I being too particular? How do you prep your elderberries for cooking?
 
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Karen Donnachaidh wrote:I am very particular about cleaning elderberries. I rinse them multiple times, then refill bowl with water and remove any berries that float. There seems to be some good berries that float as well as the under ripen ones and some under ripe ones that never float, so I don't know about my method there. Afterwards, I spread them in a single layer and use tweezers to pluck out any more under ripe berries and any remaining stem pieces. Very time consuming! Is there an easier way? Am I being too particular? How do you prep your elderberries for cooking?



I do pretty much what you do...no tweezers but I do pick out the under ripe ones.  Usually the water will float out some bugs also and depending on how patient I am stripping the berries, there are small stems to remove.  I don't think that is being too particular as I'm pretty sure I've read less than ripe berries have some toxicity.



 
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I'm not nearly that particular. I harvest, rinse, de-stem, then cook. That's it.

Do you have a particular health issues that requires such meticulous treatment or is it just your nature?
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Mainly concerned about the toxicity. I used to use the tweezers to remove every tiny piece of stem. I don't anymore. I do take out any berries with visible green (under ripe) showing. I want to remove the reddish ones too, but I wouldn't have much in the pot if I did that.
 
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I freeze the berries on the stems and run a fork through them to detach the berries. Much easier to separate frozen than when they are fresh.
 
pollinator
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I'd like to find some. We had them when I was a kid, but I can't remember what the seeds are like? Are they big enough to be a problem?
 
Megan Palmer
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The berries are tiny as are the seeds which are numerous but I have only ever foraged from the wild, domesticated elderberries may have larger berries and fewer seeds. It depends on how you intend to use the berries whether the seeds will be an issue - I mainly use them to make a syrup so the pulp is discarded. I have also used them with crab apples to make a jelly.
 
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