[NAFEX] elderberries stem toxicity

John Bunker john.p.bunker at gmail.com
Sat Sep 3 07:56:22 EDT 2011

We make elderberry juice.  We steam the berries and extract the  
juice.  Then we freeze it and use it later.  It has a strong flavor  
but we like it and it has never made us ill.  We have not tried eating  
them uncooked.  One of our apprentices ate one S. pubens (Red Elder)  
berry.  She decided not to do that again.

A friend taught us one way to remove the berries from the stems rather  
easily.  Freeze the clusters, stems and all in a plastic bag.  Then  
whack the bag against a counter or with a stick, etc.  Cut a small  
hole in the corner of the bag and then "pour" out the berries.

John Bunker
trees at fedcoseeds.com
PO Box 520
Waterville ME 04903

On Aug 28, 2011, at 12:05 AM, mIEKAL aND wrote:

> It would be interesting to see an analysis of the elderberry goo
> compound.  I wonder if the toxicity is part of what gets bound up in
> the goo in the juicing process.  The goo sticks to everything along
> the way, the primary, the juicer, siphons, so by the time it gets in a
> bottle there is very little sign of it.  I flunked chemistry in high
> school so I'm just wondering out loud.
> As for removing it.  The link I posted worked for surfaces where I
> could rub oil on it first & then scrub vigorously with a lot of soap &
> water.  The oil seems to break it down.  This process won't work for
> the inside of siphons & for my glass secondary tho...  At last I got
> the primary bucket clean enough to fill it with another load of
> elderberry must.
> On Sat, Aug 27, 2011 at 9:56 PM, Jay Cutts <orders at cuttsreviews.com>  
> wrote:
>> I once got violently ill after eating elderberries right off the  
>> bush.
>> Days later, when I had finally recovered, I did some research and  
>> found
>> that the elderberry stems contain a toxin. I had stripped the berries
>> right off the clusters with my teeth (Ok, it was really hot out and I
>> was really parched and I didn't have the patience to pick one berry  
>> at a
>> time.)
>> Any run into this? When  you mentioned bits of stem being included I
>> thought of this.
>> Regards,
>> Jay
>> Jay Cutts
>> Director, Cutts Graduate Reviews
>> Lead Author, Barron's Test Prep Publications
>> (800) 353-4898
>> In New Mexico, (505) 281-0684
>> 10 am to 10 pm Mountain Time, 7 days
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