Project Cooking With Wild Ingredients: Elderberries

Elderberries, around September you will see them everywhere. Big clusters of black berries are hanging on the Elder tree by this time, ready to be picked. Many mystical powers has been given to the Elder tree by ancient cultures and nowadays it is still known as a medicinal plant. It is a very common plant in a big part of the world and it grows as well as in rural areas as in urban. Next to the berries you can also use the flowers, which bloom in the beginning of summer. In England they say that summer begins when the Elder flowers and that it ends when its berries are ripe.


Elderberries are very healthy and you can use them to make juice, syrup, wine and jam. It is known to be good for your immune system, vision and cholesterol. They say that if you take a spoon of Elderberry syrup before you go to sleep, it reduces the chance of getting the flu or a cold. Therefore it is perfect to pick the berries in the beginning of autumn to make your own stash for the winter.

Now, when you pick the berries, make sure you only pick the black ripe ones because the green ones are still a bit poisonous. Just cut off the big clusters from the trees and pick the berries of the stems with a fork at home. Know that you need quite a bag full of berries in order to make one wine bottle of juice for example.

Elderberry pickedRecently, I picked a bag full of Elderberries myself and I decided to make juice out of it. I never did it before but it surprised me in a very good way. Elderberry juice has a strong and specific flavor but it tastes really healthy and like nature. I can definitely recommend to go out and pick the berries on a beautiful day and reward yourself with a glass of homemade juice. It is super easy to prepare and this is how to do it.

Elderberry Juice 

Ingredients for about one liter

  • 1 kg Elderberries (without stems)
  • 1 glass of water

Cooking Elderberry3

First make sure you have some well cleaned bottles depending on the amount you are going to make. Put the berries in a pan and add a glass of water. Boil the berries for about 20 minutes. By this time, the berries should have cracked open so you have a pan full of juice. Separate the juice from the berries with a sieve and heat up the juice one more time until right before it boils. Fill the bottles till the edge and put on the cap. Enjoy!

Elderberry juice

Elderberry Syrup


  • 1 liter of Elderberry juice
  • 500g sugar

If it turns out you do not really like the juice you can also decide to make syrup out of it. To do this you just have to add sugar to the juice, heat it again until the sugar is dissolved and pour it in clean bottles.

If you know some other Elderberry recipes, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Project ‘Cooking With Wild Ingredients’ is a part of On My Way To Freedomland as an inspiration to bring us closer to earth again. In order to grow, we first need strong roots. Many aspects of modern society are clouding our relationship with nature and are cutting us from the connection with earth. Without our roots we are floating, lost and stuck with a feeling that we are not in charge of our own lives. It leaves us insecure because we are afraid to fall. But knowing that there is always an earth to rely on can take these fears away and can make you feel safe and confident again. No matter what choice in life you make, there is always an earth to fall back to. Earth is always providing and is just like for plants, it is also the soil for your roots.

Once you feel this relationship again, you will realize that most of your fears are actally based on nothing and you will find more strength to create the life you want. Finding and making your own food, directly from nature can help to restore your relationship with the earth and besides that, food always tastes better if you have picked the ingredients yourself! It is super organic!  

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