Black Elderberry

Sambucus nigra

Elder has been known to hold protective as well as dangerous magical powers, still it has been used widely throughout Europe for a long time. The creamy-white elderflowers that give off a floral musky aroma bloom in the first half of the summer. Elderflowers are used to make syrups, champagne and several desserts. For example, elderflower fritters are a delicate mouthful. The inky-purplish berries ripen in the autumn. Ripe berries are used to make jams, sauces, syrups, alcoholic drinks and so on. Elderberries are like northern grapes — vinegar made from elderberries resembles balsamic vinegar, yet wine made from elderberries has to ripen for several years to acquire its unique taste. The fresh elderflowers and unripe berries consist toxic compounds that disintegrate when being fermented, heated or dried. For instance, unripe berries can be successfully made into “false capers” through fermentation. The berries as well as flowers have high medicinal properties and they are superb for driving off a cold. The berries, which are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, strengthen immunity and clean the body.