How to Make Elderberry Jam


The elderberry is a shrub commonly found in North America. The fruit of the elderberry has long had a reputation for healing topical conditions and contains a high amount of vitamin C. The Native Americans even referred to the elderberry as a "medicine chest." Elderberries are healthy, low-sugar fruits that can be used to make a tasty, blackish-blue jam that's ideal as an additive-free spread.

Things You'll Need

  • Elderberries
  • Sugar
  • White vinegar
  • Fork
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Pint jars
  • Canning lids
  • Pot
  • Tongs
  • Prepare 2 qts. of elderberries. Wash the berries and remove the stems from the stalks. Crush the elderberries with a fork.

  • Put the crushed elderberries in a heavy saucepan. Add 6 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup white vinegar.

  • Bring the jam mixture to a boil over low heat. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until all of the sugar is dissolved. Boil the mixture until it thickens, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

  • Pour the hot mixture into three clean pint jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top. Place canning lids on the jars. Tap gently on the lid to remove any air bubbles. Screw the lids firmly shut.

  • Bring water to a roiling boil in a large pot. Put the jam jars into the boiling water for about 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the water with tongs and let them cool overnight.

  • Store your elderberry jam. The jam will stay good for about a year, but must be refrigerated after opening. Eat the jam within a week of opening, because it contains no preservatives.

Tips & Warnings

  • This recipe yields 3 pint jars. Spread the jam on bread, toast, pancakes and biscuits. Elderberry jam is also great mixed into plain yogurt.
  • Never eat raw elderberries, because they can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Elderberries contain traces of hydrocyanic acid, a toxin that is destroyed when the elderberries are cooked. Red elderberries should not be used for cooking, because they are considered poisonous. Your elderberry jam will probably contain tiny pieces of seeds. Don't use aluminum saucepans, because the elderberry juice will stain them.

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  • Photo Credit Creative Commons photo by Laura Bell
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