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Elderflower Champagne

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John J at home 30 May 01 - 03:37 PM
mousethief 30 May 01 - 04:01 PM
Morticia 30 May 01 - 04:02 PM
hesperis 30 May 01 - 04:46 PM
Llanfair 30 May 01 - 04:46 PM
Les from Hull 30 May 01 - 04:50 PM
mousethief 30 May 01 - 05:27 PM
Sorcha 30 May 01 - 06:56 PM
Noreen 30 May 01 - 07:30 PM
John Routledge 30 May 01 - 10:00 PM
hesperis 31 May 01 - 12:44 AM
Sorcha 31 May 01 - 02:29 AM
Llanfair 31 May 01 - 03:40 AM
GUEST,JohnB 31 May 01 - 12:48 PM
IanC 31 May 01 - 12:55 PM
Sorcha 31 May 01 - 01:34 PM
Sorcha 31 May 01 - 02:09 PM
dr soul 31 May 01 - 11:53 PM
Les from Hull 01 Jun 01 - 07:57 AM
IanC 01 Jun 01 - 08:27 AM
Les from Hull 01 Jun 01 - 08:51 AM
Bearheart 01 Jun 01 - 10:20 AM
Llanfair 01 Jun 01 - 03:30 PM
Jenny S 02 Jun 01 - 11:08 AM
Bagpuss 02 Jun 01 - 11:25 AM
Llanfair 02 Jun 01 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,JTT 02 Jun 01 - 04:57 PM
Penny S. 02 Jun 01 - 07:36 PM
menzze 03 Jun 01 - 04:40 PM
Noreen 17 Jun 01 - 12:35 PM
John J at home 17 Jun 01 - 01:08 PM
Jenny S 22 Jun 01 - 09:22 AM
menzze 23 Jun 01 - 07:42 AM
Noreen 27 Jun 01 - 07:49 AM
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Subject: Elderflower Champagne
From: John J at home
Date: 30 May 01 - 03:37 PM

Geordie Broon expressed an interest in this recipe at the recent Yorkshire Gathering. It's not alchoholic, but it's dead easy to make and tastes WONDERFUL.

bits: 4 large heads of elderflower (picked on a dry sunny day) Juice and thinly pared rind of 1 lemon 2 tablespoons of white vinegar (I use white wine vinegar) 1.5lb (700g) granulated sugar

Method: Place all the ingredients in a large container with 8 pints (4.5l) of water. Stir to help dissolve the sugar, cover with a cloth for 24 hours. Strain and pour into sterilised screw-top bottles that have previously held a sparkling drink **VERY IMPORTANT, THIS DRINK GETS SERIOUSLY FIZZY). Screw on the caps tightly and leave for two to three weeks before sampling so that it developes a fizz. Store in a cool place. Drink within 3 months.

You can collect elderflowers around this time of the year freeze them so you can make this brill drink anytime of the year.

Hope you enjoy it!

John


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: mousethief
Date: 30 May 01 - 04:01 PM

What's "Brill"? The only definition in Webster's online is a european flatfish or turbot.

I wonder if elderflowers grow around here.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Morticia
Date: 30 May 01 - 04:02 PM

Wow, thanks John, sounds great...shame about the non-alcoholic bit though.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: hesperis
Date: 30 May 01 - 04:46 PM

"Brill" is sometimes used as a shortcut for "brilliant" and "fantastic" if you're British, I've noticed.

Thanks for the recipe! We get premade Elderflower Pressé at the supermarket, and I've never seen an elder tree around here. But now, if I ever do see an elder tree, I'll know what to do with the flowers!


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Llanfair
Date: 30 May 01 - 04:46 PM

And then there is elderflower wine. I make 5 gallons every year, and it is delectable and very, very strong. I mix it with good lemonade in the summer, and still get smashed!!
PM me if you want the recipe, visit me if you want to try it!!
Cheers, Bron.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Les from Hull
Date: 30 May 01 - 04:50 PM

Brill just means 'brilliant', Alex. No one has yet discovered a way of making a tasty sparkling drink using fish, but we live in hope.

Elderflowers are what would become elderberries if people didn't keep nicking them to make a tasty sparkling drink!

Actually elderberry champagne is very tasty drink. Only the French won't let us call it champagne.

Les


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: mousethief
Date: 30 May 01 - 05:27 PM

Those French, always spoiling everybody's fun.

Well, Les, when you find a way of making that sparkling turbot wine, please don't feel obliged to let me know. >:-P

I'd love to try your elderflower wine, Bron. Where exactly do you live again?

Alex


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Sorcha
Date: 30 May 01 - 06:56 PM

There are 2 kinds of Elder---they are really bushes rather than trees, at least in the US. One kind smells heavenly, the other like cat piss. They look exactly alike. Be sure and sniff before you pick!

Just a thought---yeast is not being added in this recipe, which is what makes the alcohol content go up, but "wild" yeasts are obviously getting in when you cover the must with a cloth. If it is "fizzy" it is at least mildy alcoholic.........enough that it might matter to some folks.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Noreen
Date: 30 May 01 - 07:30 PM

I was going to point that out, too, Sorch- the wild yeasts will be imported with the elderflowers. (Wild? They were livid!) So if you drink enough of it...

Les, if they were going to make a fishy version of this anywhere, they'd have done it in Hull...

Thanks for the recipe, John. Bit early for elderflowers here yet, but I'll keep my eyes open. They'll be earlier near you in the soft South (of Manchester) I suppose... :0)

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: John Routledge
Date: 30 May 01 - 10:00 PM

Thanks John.

As Mrs Beaton said in her recipe for Jugged Hare - First catch your hare! Cheers GB


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: hesperis
Date: 31 May 01 - 12:44 AM

Oh, yeah! Forgot about there being different kinds of Elder tree...

One has dark berries and is good, and the other has either red or white berries and is poisonous, right?


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Sorcha
Date: 31 May 01 - 02:29 AM

Actually, both can can be poisonous; both contain a compound related to cyanide, esp. if un-cooked as in wine. Jelly, etc. is fine as it is boiled, but the raw or uncooked of either specie can be poison.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Llanfair
Date: 31 May 01 - 03:40 AM

I've never heard that before, Sorcha. Elderberries are a rich source of vitamin C, though they taste bland. I've never had a bad reaction to the wine. Elderflower fritters are a delicacy, too, though I've never tried them.
There is no blossom here in Wales yet, but I should be able to pick the first flowers at the weekend.
Cheers, Bron.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 31 May 01 - 12:48 PM

Yes if it goes fizzy it has some alcohol content, sugar + yeast = fermentation = alcohol + CO 2. Somewhere at home I have a recipe from a Medieval Cook book for Elderflower Pie, it is basically Elderflowers in a baked Egg Custard. It is really quite good. JohnB


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: IanC
Date: 31 May 01 - 12:55 PM

Sorcha

I've eaten elderberries since a boy and they've never done me any harm. Straight off the tree (sharp and a bit brackish), in pies (Apple & Elderberry) and as wine (by the gallon). Are US elderberries different from UK ones, perhaps?

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Sorcha
Date: 31 May 01 - 01:34 PM

No, I don't think so. It's just that some people are more sensitive. I'll see if I can find documentation. Might take me a while,tho.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Sorcha
Date: 31 May 01 - 02:09 PM

OK, check out this link about elder (sambucus). You have to scroll way down to find out about the toxicity.

Also, from Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs:
Sambucus ssp Caprifoliacae

"The name elderberry (or elder) encompasses perhaps 13 species of deciduous shrubs native to North America and several venerable European shrubs that followed settlers here (sic, to North America).

Medicinal: Elderberry shrubs are not the place for the amateur herbal enthusiast to experiment. They contain cyanogenic glucosides, substances that release cyanide, and an unidentified cathartic, found primarily in the leaves and roots of some species.

The danger comes mainly from the roots, stems and leaves says Dr. Kenneth Lampe, author of the AMA Handbook of Poisonous Injurious Plants. (Children got sick from playing with elderberry whistles or blowguns) Ripe, cooked berries are harmless.....

Lampe says the flowers are probably non-toxic, and that limited amouts of raw fruit are generally considered to have no adverse effect."

And, from Earl Mindell's Herb Bible:

"Caution--The seeds from the raw elderberry plant are toxic; therefore, don't eat the berry unless it is cooked."

There does appear to be some disagreement on exactly which part is toxic; I can personally attest to the "laxative" effect........I prefer to err on the side of caution.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: dr soul
Date: 31 May 01 - 11:53 PM

Yo, Alex/mousethief - I live in Olympia WA, USA. If you're in the NW USA, there's two kinds of elderberries round here. The native elderberry (Red Elderberry) blossoms first and has (duh) red berries. It's the one that smells like cat piss. The dark elderberry (sambuca nigra), the one with the edible flowers, flowers later(as late as July) and has blue or black berries. They tend to grow in warmer parts of the region (e.g. East of the Cascade mountains) although I've seen them on the west side of the mountains. Since the champagne recipe works with the essence of the fruit, not the seeds, I wouldn't worry too much about toxicity. The batch of elderberry wine I made didn't harm me ;) . . .!


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Les from Hull
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 07:57 AM

Sambuca Nigra is the one you want - the one with the black berries. Accept no substitute. I don't think we have any other Elders growing wild in England.

I made elderberry icecream last year (needed sugar of course) as there were some unclaimed berries in Maggie's garden belonging to next door's tree. I don't like to let free food escape if I can help it!

Les


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: IanC
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 08:27 AM

Sorcha

Checked your link. The only elderberry we have in England is Sambucus Nigra. Nowhere there does it say that there is any toxic part of this species (though it does say that hybrids with other species of Sambucus may have toxins).

As I say, I've never had any effects in 47 years of eating the things cooked, raw or any other way (including frozen), and I have consumed a lot on a regular basis.

By the way, pressed elderberry juice is also sold in our part of the world, as well as Elderflower Champagne.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Les from Hull
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 08:51 AM

Yes Ian, that lovely Elderflower Cordial that you can buy in health food shops. We always keep some of that in.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Bearheart
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 10:20 AM

Very excited to see this--- I mostly tincture the flowers in vodka for the medicinal properties, or make salve. Will definitely try it.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Llanfair
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 03:30 PM

What is the salve for, Bearheart?, and the tincture? how do you make it? I really want to start making herbal remedies, but I'm afraid of using too much, and too little might not be effective.
Cheers, Bron.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Jenny S
Date: 02 Jun 01 - 11:08 AM

In France there is a plant called Sambucus Ebulus that is toxic, and can easily be confused with Sambucus Nigra if you are not familiar true elder.

Sambucus Ebulus looks and smells exactly like Sambucus Nigra, until your notice that it grows annually, (It is not a tree, as Sambucus nigra is).

True elder is traditionally used against flu and colds, and has now been "proved, by scientists" to be effective... Why all those "old wives" should have been assumed wrong until proved otherwise I can't imagine.

Elderberry wine with added spices is my favourite.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Bagpuss
Date: 02 Jun 01 - 11:25 AM

My mam makes elderflower champagne, and it is deceptively alcoholic. Gets me tipsy very quickly. She always manages to put some in the wrong sort of bottles too so the occasional explosions liven things up in her house!

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Llanfair
Date: 02 Jun 01 - 04:48 PM

There's an article about the uses of the TOTALLY NON-TOXIC British Elder in this month's Organic Gardner, with a recipe for elderflower pancakes. I will definately try them this year!!
Cheers, Bron.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 02 Jun 01 - 04:57 PM

Of course you have to apoligise to Mother Elder while taking her flowers or berries.

This is the time, too, for making gorse flower wine - same recipe as elderflower, and careful when picking the blossoms, for obvious reasons.

The first time a friend of mine tasted this - it having been aged till the next blossoming (in other words, three months) as is recommended - he was sitting on the lawn outside his mountain home. "Not very strong," he said after drinking a judicious glass, then passed out for 20 minutes.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Penny S.
Date: 02 Jun 01 - 07:36 PM

Do watch that you are scrupulously clean with everything. One year my mix went dramatically off with some sort of fungal or algal stringy stuff in it. That's the trouble with wild yeasts. I now stick to commercial products. Also make sure that your trees are well clear of traffic fumes and other contaminants. I suspect some of the stuff about the smell is about pre- and post- fertilisation. And look out for camouflaged white spiders on the blooms.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: menzze
Date: 03 Jun 01 - 04:40 PM

I used to collect elderberries with my grandma every year, when I was a boy. She used to make jam and juice from them which we had to drink hot in winter when having caught a cold or the flu (lot of vitamin C in it).
She also told me another interesting "fact": in every eldertree there lives a witch. That's why the elder is so strong against certain diseases.

menzze


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Noreen
Date: 17 Jun 01 - 12:35 PM

Elderflowers are just opening here on the edge of the Pennine Moors. You made yours yet, John?


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: John J at home
Date: 17 Jun 01 - 01:08 PM

I was going to collect some this afternoon, but it's a bit late now: I've been out all day (a race, friends for lunch, then visiting me dad). I'll bum off work early tomorrow. If you want to try it out, but not just yet, the elderflower heads will freeze well.

J


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Jenny S
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 09:22 AM

Menzze, When your Gran told you about the witch in the elder tree I bet she also told you that's why you must never cut an elder tree!

J


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: menzze
Date: 23 Jun 01 - 07:42 AM

Jenny in fact she didn't, but if you've ever tried to cut an eldertree you know he will grow again if you don't pull out the roots completely. You can't kill it just by cutting it down. Witches are always hard to kill.

Slainte

menzze


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Noreen
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 07:49 AM

Yesterday was the perfect day for gathering elderflowers, warm, dry and sunny (raining again today though!) so I walked along the footpath past my cottage, over the stile into the fields and collected what I needed for the recipe. Most umbels are still only in bud, but enough were fully open for my needs.

So, the bowls are sitting there infusing and the bottles are ready for filling later today.

Let you know how it goes (just tastes lemony at the moment).

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: JulieF
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 11:50 AM

I'm afraid my main memory of elderflowers - although I love the flavour , especially the champagne, is of picking lots and lots one day and ending up in hospital with asthma the next.

Julie


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Bert
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 12:23 PM

My Ex-Ma-inlaw wanted to make some elderflower wine one time. So we went out one afternoon and gathered a huge tub of elderflowers for her. She left them in the kitchen that night. However, when she went into the kitchen the next morning to start the wine, she found that the whole kitchen was covered with millions of little black flies (really millions, they were thick all over the ceiling an dwalls). She had to throw out the flowers and clean the kitchen from top to bottom.

She never tried that again.

Bert


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 05:14 PM

Wine flies.. or thunder bugs? Wine flies have visible wings and one body will turn an entire 5 gallon bucket to vinegar rat's piss. Thunderbugs are like little puncutation marks ! and can swarm in millions. They take refuge indoors when the air is opressive, hence the name thunderbugs. They are OK, and will go as soon as the thunder has passed. Wine flies won't and are a pain in the arse. So always cover your wine properly.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 05:35 AM

The elder tree outside our house is in full blossom, so I thought I would try find info on "champagne" brewing.
Once again Mudcat comes up trumps.
Any more advice folks?
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: GUEST,John J (on safari)
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 05:52 AM

Yes Geoff....you must owe me a pint!

John
:-)


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 05:55 AM

Gawd!
The speed of responses on Mudcat...
:-)
Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Marje
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 06:22 AM

Here's how a local farm makes Elderflower Cordial (and I do to, from this recipe):

20-30 heads elderflower
Rind and juice of 2 lemons
1 kg sugar
30g tartaric or citric acid
1 Camden tablet

Put flowers in bowl/bucket with lemon and acid. Pour a litre of boiling water over the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add to the bowl with a Camden tablet. Leave for 24-36 hours (taste it to see if it's flowery enough) and then bottle or freeze. Makes about a litre and a half.

The boiling water helps kill natural yeasts on the blossoms, and the Camden tablet helps to prevent fermentation, so it should keep quite well, but freezing is probably safer if you want to keep it a long time.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: GUEST,Gallus Moll
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 04:43 PM

My health food shop sells a product called 'Sambucol' as a cure for or prevention against colds; it is made from concentrated Elderberries.

I have made Elderflower and Elderberry wine a number of times in the past, both very easy to make, tasted great - no side effects (other than the usual alcohol related ones!)

Re. the witch living in the elder tree - in Scotland it is the Rowan ( Mountain Ash) that cannot be cut down - it is often planted on either side of a gate to protect the house, keep it lucky and safe. - Rowan berries make an excellent jelly for accompanying cold meat (or to make a jus for roast meat)

Best of all is the sloe (fruit of the Blackthorn) - people here are usually reluctant to divulge their 'secret' source of these glorious
fruits!


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 06:40 AM

Saw some ladies gathering Elder flowers only yesterday.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: michaelr
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 07:42 PM

For those who don't have access to elder trees, there's a lovely elderflower liqueur from France called St Germain. Wonderful over ice or mixed with sparkling wine.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: olddude
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 10:50 PM

been eatin elderberries since I was in diapers, raw, cooked, and in wine. great vitc, military teaches they are one of the things to look for in survival. They make the best pie in the world by the way ...Now what I think you are talking about is a relative called locally as a 'poke berry', look more like blueberries or wild huckleberries but grow in bunches like elderberries.. those are very dangerous indeed ... even if just handled they can make you very ill or dead if you eat em


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: olddude
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 11:26 PM

They also are foul smelling unlike the elderberry
the berrys on these are much bigger however ... I actually ate some as a kid ... puked a lot I did ... What you are calling red elderberries is the poke berry, notice this description

Avoid elderberries species with red fruit growing in rounded, instead of flat clusters. They may make you sick. Herculesí club is a shrub or small tree with feather-compound leaves that looks a little like the common elderberry. It has flat clusters of poisonous, black berries, often arranged in a ring, and a short, unbranched, thorny trunk. Elderberries are thornless.



poke berry

here is the common elderberry, notice the umbrella shape ... notice too the berries are very dark purple like a concord grape.

common elderberry

Now if you see the umbrella shape (no thorny branch) and they are red you most certainly can eat them ... they are just elderberries that are not fully ripe, they have great vitc but are bitter in taste ..I have eaten them even green in survival ... you will not get sick on an elderberry bush.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: Boho
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 12:52 AM

Cute


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: maeve
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 01:40 AM

Olddude- In addition to Sambucus nigra, there is in fact a red elder (Sambucus racemosa)as well as many other forms world wide. Sambucus (elder or elderberry). Information on Red Elder, here with a bit more information here: http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/vashon/vib/opinion/94872884.html . We prefer to leave the red elder berries for the songbirds.

Here is information about Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) and one more link here:

I hope this is helpful. If not, please humor me. Organizing the links gave me something to do on a humid, sleepless, mosquito-filled night. :)

maeve


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: gnu
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 12:57 PM

Hey... if I could figure out how to make Skeeter Champagne I'd be RICH!

And Blackfly Beer would almost be tooo greedy.


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: olddude
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 11:40 PM

Thanks Maeve, I always just assumed they were ones that were not ripe fully... but always ate them ... now I know there is a red version ... probably something I should have known but didn't thanks again

Down south they actually make a Poke salad .. they pick the berries then boil them drain them boil then drain boil then drain and eventually all the toxins will come out of it ... still not a very good thing to do ... kinda like picking wild mushrooms... all fungi in the wild are toxic at times and edible at times ... some species are usually always toxic ... like the cute little death angel (properly named) ... and some are usually always edible like the hen of the woods ... however the key word is usually ... wild mushrooms when toxic destroy the liver and the kidneys ... never a good idea ever to eat them no matter how many times you have and didn't run into a bad one ... it only takes 1 bad one and either death or a lifetime of problems awaits ...


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: olddude
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 11:59 PM

I used to tell everyone that plants are great for vitc .. but you have to be so very careful ... it is the bugs that you eat that will keep you strong and alive ... now at to what bugs are the tastiest ... I will not go into detail LOL


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: gnu
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 11:16 AM

What is "vitc"?


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 12:06 PM

I love elderflowers and elderberries, but it's been a treat just to read through all the posts on this thread.

Maeve-- one of the links you posted (the one with "Vashon" in the link gibberish) is from the island where I grew up! It brought back fond memories of romping about in the woods, happily munching!

--Cuilionn, who is still waiting for her elder bushes to get big enough for blossom-collecting!


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: olddude
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 04:58 PM

GNU
vitamin C


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Subject: RE: Elderflower Champagne
From: gnu
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 07:27 PM

Thanks Dan.


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