Elderberries come from the elder tree, which is native to the U.S. Elderberry bushes are often planted for their ornamental value due to the many clusters of small white flowers that cover the bush. However, the elderberries themselves, which are small dark - almost black - berries that grow in clusters around the flowers, can be used for many things. Making your own elderberry juice is a simple process and the resulting drink is light, flowery and can be enjoyed all year.
Things You'll Need
Elderberries (Approx 1/2 lb fruit per 1 pint of juice)
Ball jars with lids and rings
Pick or buy the elderberries. There are pick-your-own elderberry farms all over the U.S., so check to see if there's one in your local area. Planting an elderberry bush, if you have a garden, is another way to ensure you always have the fruit to hand.
Wash the elderberries, removing any leaves or stalks.
Sanitize the jars by boiling them for around 10 minutes in a large pot or saucepan. Leave the jars in the water until you are ready to use them.
Place the elderberries in a large pot and pour in water until the elderberries are just covered. Transfer the pot to the stove, and cook over a medium to high heat, stirring regularly. Remove form the boil and simmer for around 10 minutes.
Mix 1 1/2 cups water with 3/4 cup sugar while the elderberries are simmering. This creates a syrup to sweeten the juice.
Remove the elderberries from the heat when the skins have softened and the berries begin to break down. Pass the berries through a juice strainer, discarding the pulp left in the strainer. Add the syrup to the elderberry juice and bring to the boil.
Pour the juice into the jars, secure the lids and place the jars into a large pot of boiling water, ensuring the water covers the jars by a minimum of 2 inches. Keep the water boiling for around five minutes, then carefully remove the jars from the pot. Allow the jars to cool, then store them in a cool, dark place, where the juice will last for up to 12 months.
Use a pair of lifting tongs to remove the sealed jars of juice from the boiling water.