[NAFEX] elderberries stem toxicity

Dan Nave nave1 at comcast.net
Sat Sep 10 18:51:05 EDT 2011


Just picked the first elderberries from two plants that were planted 1 year ago.  John's and Wild 
Elderberry.  By the way, the wild elderberry seemed to bloom a bit later than the John's so I am not 
sure that we got all of the John's to fruit.  (Or do they really need another variety to pollinate 
them?)  Fruit was not abundant but we got almost 2 cups of small berries.  Not that many canes came 
up but I think it is because it is planted under a maple tree (branches are cut up high) but I think 
there is some competition with the roots...

I remember several years ago collecting elderberries and making wine out of them.  It was incredibly 
difficult to get the berries off the stems.  I ended up using, and ruining, one of my wife's plastic 
bristle hair brushes.  Using your method of freezing them it was extremely easy to get the fruit off 
the stems.  So, thanks a lot for that.

I notice many very small stem pieces loose in the bag with the berries so I will have to come up 
with a method of separating these out.  I would think that spreading them out on a terrycloth towel 
or something like that and rolling the berries off might leave the twigs behind in the cloth.  Maybe 
they could be winnowed out.  Any other suggestions?

Dan
St. Paul, MN, zone 4

On 9/3/2011 6:56 AM, John Bunker wrote:
> 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.
> JB
>
> John Bunker
> Fedco
> trees at fedcoseeds.com
> www.fedcoseeds.com
> PO Box 520
> Waterville ME 04903
> 207-873-7333
>
>
>
>
> 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.
>>
>> ~mIEKAL
>>
>>
>> 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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