Elderberries - Freeze or Fork?

Despite the beautiful weather my children have managed to catch colds. It started off with a bit of a runny nose and a temperature, but after taking them swimming for a few hours (what was I thinking??) William at least has developed a chesty cough. I've been using some essential oils and vitamin B3 to help him sleep (he always gets very restless and has nightmares when he gets a temperature), but today I decided to make some elderberry elixir to kick this thing for good.

If you've never made it before, you should follow this simple recipe, and the nice part is elderberries are in season right now, so it's easy to make a big batch and freeze some for the autumn/winter. 

Elderberries are super stain-y and used to be used for making dye, so I've always been a little wary when processing them. I was told the simplest way was to freeze them in a bag, then crunch the frozen berries off the stalks. That's the way I've always done it, but today I was feeling bold, so I went with the messier 'forking' method. 

Thing is, it wasn't messier. In fact, I spent a lovely 20 minutes sat out on my patio in the sunshine scraping berries off with a fork, and I didn't get any on my hands. The best part is that because the berries are so soft and the stems are pliable I don't end up with lots of sticks that I need to sift out of the mixture like I did with the freezing method.  In fact, this method was so fast I don't think I'll ever freeze the berries again. 

WARNING: Most species of elderberries are poisonous when eaten raw. You must cook them to benefit from eating them. 

I've had people ask me why I'd risk cooking something that is dangerous to eat raw, well I also eat chicken and no one has ever suggested I shouldn't because it needs cooking. I feel the same about elderberries, but you need to decide that for yourself. 

If you want to know more about the health benefits and risks, click here


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