Friday, August 13, 2010

Elderberries bring back Memories

It had been more than 30 years since I saw elderberries
until this summer.
Suddenly there was elderberry jam at the roadside
stand where I stopped to get tomatoes.
They were selling products made from elderberries 
elderberry bushes!

Then on recent trip to Longwood Gardens I saw these...
tart little berries that are quite labor intensive to 
work with.

However, it took me back to my childhood.
I grew up just yards from Penns Creek.
In between our home and the Creek was what 
you might call a swamp.
Well, we did anyway.

When Mom wanted to know where we were going
to play we would tell her we were "going to the
swamp"...or wherever our play site happened to 
be that day.

In this swamp were tons and tons of 
elderberry bushes.
My mother is very frugal and was even more 
so then, as a pastor's wife and stay at home mom.
We tried our hand at many canning and freezing projects.
Some that were very successful and repeated were
corn, peaches, pickles, peas, limas and cherries.

Some one time deals were
Ketchup(really didn't work out!), butter and elderberries.

While I don't remember much about the project 
itself several things have stayed with me.
It was very messy.
You could dye a whole mess of fabric with these
little berries.
They were sour!
It took a lot of sugar to make Elderberry Jam.
And it was time consuming.
I think I remember that there was a lot of 
use of strainers and maybe cheesecloth to 
extract the juice.

But, I don't think badly of these little berries.
In fact I was very tempted to pick up a jar
of that homemade jelly at the roadside stand.
Just for old time's sake.

Do you enjoy elderberries?


Anonymous said...

Yes, Becky, it took some time and was messy but your Gramma S. made a really good elderberry pie.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember picking elderberries, when I was young; however, I do remember picking blackberries. There were bushes and bushes and bushes of blackberries growing in the woods behind my house.

Vee said...

I don't think that I've ever had elderberries, though, of course, I've heard of elderberry wine.

Chicken Wrangler said...

Never had elderberries before, myself. But as I read your story about canning, and ketchup that did not turn out - I've TRIED making ketchup - and it's easier to buy it from the store! LABOR INTENSIVE and HOURS of boiling down to a usable thickness. I cooked it for 24 hours, and got 2 pint jars of ketchup! SOOO not worth it! And, my home smelled of tomato and vinegar for weeks afterwards! (THANKS for the memories! tee hee!)

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

It's been years since I've thought of Elderberries. Love the photo, Becky.

Elderberry wine, I believe, was the wine the aunts made in Arsenic and Old Lace. The movie, with Cary Grant is one of my favorites. Your title brougt up that memory, for me.

Karen said...

I've never had anything with elderberries but you've convinced me not to bother trying them if I ever do come across any.

We watched Arsenic and Old Lace a few months ago as part of our Movies as Literature study. That is about the only thing elderberries make me think of, too.

jAne said...

Tracy at has been making elderberry jam.


Mrs.Rabe said...

I have never had any!

LV said...

We had all kinds of different berries when living in the country. I do not recall any with this name.