This month's notes: March 2014: Spring is just around the corner. Strawberries are here in Florida, Texas and California, next in late March and April for much of the South, then in May for most of the country and June in cooler northern areas. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam! See this page for hundreds of easy canning and freezing instructions/recipes, canning equipment guide! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Then see each state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. Organic farms are identified in green! See our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals!. Please tell the farms you found them here - and ask them to update their information!!
Elderberries - Recipes, Nutritional Information, Home Canning and Freezing Instructions!
Elderberries and a unique American fruit, familiar to native Americans, but still not commonly known by many others. Ripe elderberries yield an abundance of sweet juice that is used for jelly, jam, juice, elderberry wine and syrups. They can be cooked into a rich sauce that needs no sweetening. The whole berries are very tart and seedy, but still make excellent pies.
Elderberries usually ripen throughout the months of August to October, depending upon the weather and area of the country. The clusters of berries are gathered in large quantities.
There are seven native species, two of which are shrub-like (small tree) and found in eastern North America, the others spread across the west. Utah State University tells us that "native Americans had a use for almost all parts of this plant; berries for food
(fresh or dried); stems for tubes, pipes and musical instruments. Some Indians called this plant “the tree of music,” since the smaller twigs and limbs made excellent flutes. Strips from larger limbs made arrow shafts. Flowers were used for external antiseptic washes."
Even animals appreciate the elderberry: deer and elk browse heavily on the leaves and twigs. Birds enjoy the berries
If you'd like to make some elderberry foods, see these pages for directions:
Nutritional Information for Elderberries:
per 100 gm /approximately cup of berries
Potassium: 280 mg
Carbohydrates: 18.4 gm
Ascorbic Acid: 36 mg
Fiber: 7 mg
Vitamin A: 300 IU (60 R.E.)
- Smaller amounts of calcium, iron, phosphorus and the B Vitamins.
Wash the elderberries in a colander under cold running water, removing any mushy or spoiled berries. Allow the water to drain off for a few minutes.
You can then freeze them using either of these methods:
Dry pack, with no added sugar.
Pack the berries into freezer containers, such as ziploc bags, then exclude as much air as you can (Vacuum sealers work great) then seal and freeze. This method works best when you plan to later use the berries in cooked dishes and pies.
Wet pack, in a sugar syrup.
Make a medium sugar syrup by dissolving 3 cups of sugar in 4 cups of warm water, to yield 5½ cups of syrup. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before using.
Pack the berries into freezer containers, such as ziploc bags, then cover them with the syrup.
Exclude as much air as you can (Vacuum sealers work great, after you freeze the bags first, then vacuum seal them in a frozen state) then seal and freeze.
This method is used when berries are served uncooked.
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]