Questions on elder tea

joannaqcw(NY 4/5)April 10, 2012

I'm trying to expand my range of herbal teas. We have lots of elderberries on the property, and I've heard that elder tea can ease hay fever (from which I suffer). I think our elderberries are canadensis. At what stage should the flowers or berries be harvested? How do you prepare the fresh material for tea? How do you preserve it for later tea-making? Any advice greatly appreciated.

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Before harvesting/using any herb you do want to be 100% sure of its identification. Not all elderberries are edible.

Flower clusters are harvested when they have fully opened. Berries are harvested when **completely** ripe. Unripe berries, like the rest of elderberry plant save the blossoms, are not edible.

Preserve by drying.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:12AM
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I harvest the flower clusters when some have fully opened and others remain closed on the same cluster. Because all the flowers do not open at the same time, clusters that appear to be in full bloom actually have many flowers that are past their prime intermingled with fresh blooms. I harvest these by cutting off the clusters and laying them to dry, flower side up, on large sheets of paper. After they have fully dried, I remove the flowers from the stems to store in a glass jar. If you remove the flowers from the stems while they are fresh, they will bruise and dry brown.

I harvest the fruit when they are ripe, but not overly ripe. Look for clusters that are all dark in color and plump, where you can handle the berries without getting juice all over your hands. If they are giving up their juice to easily, or getting smashed wile you are picking them, they are too ripe for drying (they will likely develop mold in the process unless dried quickly in a dehydrator). These should also be dried on the clusters, either hanging (with a cloth or paper beneath to catch any that fall) or just laid out on paper, berry side up. They are best removed from the stems after they are dried, since picking them off fresh usually results in smashing the fruit and creating a moldy mess in the drying process.

Many people pickle the green fruit, but I haven't done this yet. Hopefully this year :)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 12:36PM
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Fresh elder flowers are so fragrant and give a delicous and floral taste to wine, just soak the flowers in the wine for a few days then strain them out before drinking.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 4:02PM
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I actually did a research paper on Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) last year. Did you know it works better than Tamiflu for the Flu? My daughter tested positive for the Flu a few months later and opted for the drug. The rest of the family took Elderberry Concentrate, found in our local health store. We got the sniffles for a couple of days and that was it. She was sick for well over a week and she started taking the Tamiflu almost immediately.

I keep a bottle of it for any virus going around. It works!!


1) Clean Quart Jar add 1/4 pound dried elderberries (Must be Sambucus nigra)
2) Now fill to top with vodka. Put lid on tight.
3) Store in a dark cupboard and shake once every few days.
4) Label and date your jar. Let it sit for at least 30 days before you strain it. You can use it without straining it too and it will just continue to get stronger
. Dosage: 1 teaspoon four to five times daily during infections. Otherwise once daily.

I have a ton of this in my backyard.. I just wish I knew if I had Sambucus nigra or something else ::

Here is a link that might be useful: Elderberry Trumps Tamiflu for Flu Remedy

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 9:28PM
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