Elderberry Jelly

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.

Elderberry Jelly Recipe

4 cups Elderberry juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 cups sugar

1 pkg No sugar needed fruit pectin

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4 Responses to Elderberry Jelly

  1. Lynn says:

    Elderberry Jelly reminds me of blackberry jelly. I always try to get my berries off the beaten path as they used to say that plants by the roadside were contaminated with the car exhaust fumes but now that we have lead free gas, that should not be a problem. I use a comb to get the berries off the stems and it works great. They are just beginning to get ripe here in Florida so picking time in about 2 weeks.

    • Lynn-
      The challenge with elderberries in Central Texas is that the plant likes lots of water, something usually is in short supply so one has to find it down by rivers, creeks, or swamps. The idea with the comb sounds great. Picking time has come and gone here in Central Texas so we will be envious of you. However, Pomegranates are ripening as we speak. 🙂

  2. Jobeth Easters Roberts says:

    I have enjoyed you site and will bookmark it for further reading. I found it looking for info on prickly pare jelly. I have that cooking now for juice. Have you ever tried American Beauty Berries? I will make a second batch tomorrow since it just began to rain. Our South Georgia heat makes wild gathering difficult at times. I think the deer got to the elderberries here before I did. I read ya later. Jobeth

    • Jobeth- I am glad you enjoyed the site. I too enjoy prickly pear jelly, especially the color. Yes I have made American Beautyberry jelly. In some of my research I found that a few people had a reaction to the fruit so I chose to not include it in my blog. I have shared American Beautyberry jelly with many people who enjoyed it greatly with no ill affects. My local newspaper did a whole article on making American Beautyberry jelly so I feel more comfortable writing about it now. Yes, I am familiar with South Georgia heat. I have picked many a tasty blackberry in the Bainbridge area. We don’t have many blackberries here, rather we have dewberries. Elderberries don’t do real well here since it is very dry much of the year. Where I have found them here is either at the river or near springs. I found it to be too dry in my yard for them to perform well.

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