Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis, American Elder) makes a beautiful dark purple jelly. The plant is a tall shrub (up to 20 feet tall) that can be found in much of the eastern half of Texas. It grows along permanent rivers and streams. One can usually find many of the bushes growing in close proximity. I grew the elderberry from cuttings but it needed more water than I was providing so it died back each summer but would sprout again every spring. This year the berries were fewer due to the drought. The berries are produced in larger clusters in mid to late summer. The unripe berries are often present along with ripe ones. Do not use the green berries nor the stems that hold the berries because they are said to be mildly poisonous. The easiest way to harvest the fruit is to cut the clusters from the stem. Pull off the ripe berries (8-10 cups) and bring to a boil in a pot with no water added. Crush the berries while cooking for 10 minutes. Crush the cooked berries in a food mill. Pour the juice through your cheese cloth. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice. Add no sugar needed fruit pectin. Bring to a rolling boil then add 3 cups of sugar. Cool and then pour into freezer containers. Freeze.
I love the taste of Elderberry Jelly. I seem to love nearly every jelly I make but I particularly appreciate this jelly. It is tart despite the sugar you add. I like to see pretty jellies and the color of this one definitely places it in that category.
4 cups Elderberry juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1 pkg No sugar needed fruit pectin