How to Dry Elderberries
Wondering how to dry elderberries? You will love this simple method!
When to harvest elderberries
First of all, you need to find some elderberry bushes. We grow our own here on the farm, but maybe you are blessed with access to wild elderberries.
Need a good source for ordering elderberry plants online? This is one of my favorite retailers of fruit trees and shrubs.
For my zone 7A northern Virginia garden, elderberries are ripe around the end of July and beginning of August. The birds like elderberries, too, and while I don’t mind sharing a few, I definitely don’t want to lose my entire harvest.
Therefore, I like to keep an eye on my ripening berries in mid-to-late-July and get out there to do my harvesting as soon as those berries turn dark purpley-black.
How to dry elderberries
I like to snip off the entire head of berries into a basket, filling my basket with many berry heads. Then the basket goes into my kitchen, where I arrange the berry heads on dehydrator sheets for drying.
I set the temperature to approximately 130 degrees Fahrenheit and dehydrate the berries until completely dry and crispy.
Finally, I enlist a kid’s help to rub the dried berries off the stems, into a large bowl.
Then we transfer the berries to an airtight jar for long-term storage. I don’t worry too much about extra bits of stems getting mixed in with the dried berries, because I can strain out these pieces after boiling berries for elderberry syrup.
Storing dried elderberries
Dried elderberries will last at least a year and probably longer if stored properly. Use an airtight container and keep away from light and heat.
I store dried elderberries in a mason canning jar with a plastic lid, or sometimes a two-piece metal canning lid. Don’t forget to add a label with the contents of the jar and the date!
Make your own elderberry syrup
For me, the entire goal of learning how to dry elderberries (and growing my own!) is to make homemade elderberry syrup. I like to keep elderberry syrup on hand especially during the cold and flu season, to help boost my family’s immune systems.
You need only four simple ingredients to make elderberry syrup, three of which you’ve probably got on hand. All you need now is elderberries!
Find the recipe and instructions here: Make Your Own Elderberry Syrup.
Do you grow or have access to wild elderberries? Have you ever dried elderberries or made elderberry syrup?
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