There are probably as many recipes for Elderberry wine as there are home wine-makers. Elderberries are the all-time favourite fruit to use for such homemade brews and one could easily fill an entire book just with Elderberry and -flower wine recipes! Since there is obviously not enough space here to mention all these wonderful recipes only one adaptable method shall be mentioned here.
Pour 2 gallons of boiling water over 3 gallons of clean ripe berries that have been stripped from their stalks. Leave covered in a warm place for 24 hours. Press the liquid through a sieve and add 3 lb of sugar, ½ oz of Ginger, ¼ oz of Cloves and ¼ of Cinnamon for each gallon on juice. Simmer for 20 minutes, discarding the scum and strain into a cask. Do not bung until the liquid has become still. Leave to mature for at least 6 months.
For about 20 Elderflower heads you will need:
Separate the egg. Blend the egg-yolk with the oil, water, lemon zest and juice until smooth. Add the mix to the sifted flour. Add more liquid if necessary to make a thick batter. Allow the mix to rest for 1/2 hour. Beat the egg-white stiff and gently fold it into the batter. Dip each flower head into the batter and deep-fry until golden-brown. Drain and serve with maple syrup or a blend of cinnamon and sugar.
For the dough:
Blend the flour and the cold butter till well mixed, add the sour cream and blend till smooth. Cool for about 1 hour. Cover the bottom of a high edged cake-tin. Warm the berries and the sugar or honey (without water) for about 10 min. Add the almonds, spices and the lemon rind. Beat the egg whites till stiff and gently fold under the berry mix and cover the dough. Bake for about 40 min. at medium temperature.
Layer a large jug with fresh Elderflowers and several slices of lemon, fill to the rim. Add spring water to cover the flowers. Cover and leave to infuse for a day. Strain and add honey to taste.
Simmer the berries with a minimal amount of water for about 15 min. Spices, such as Cinnamon, Vanilla, Cloves, or Ginger can be added to taste. Press through a fine mesh sieve to strain out the seeds. Reheat the liquid and add the sugar. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and fill into sterilized jars.
This basic recipe is very adaptable. For a variation on the theme try mixing the Elderberries with other forest berries, such as bramble or alternatively add apple, red currents, plum or rhubarb. Since elderberries do not contain pectin the addition of apple or some other tart fruit is necessary to assist solidification.
If a cordial with a syrup consistency is required, reduce the amount of sugar to half, omit any pectin-containing ingredient and boil for about an hour until the liquid thickens to syrup consistency. The addition of fresh Ginger and Cloves makes this a very effective 'rob' for winter colds.
Fill a kilner jar with elderflower heads. Cover with apple cider vinegar and leave to macerate in a cool dark place for at least a month. Strain and place a fresh flower-head in each bottle before filing it with the infused vinegar.
The young shoots can be eaten as a vegetable. Remove the outer skin, and boil in salted water. To preserve the color add a pinch of soda. They should be tender when ready.
Cut fresh green Elder-shoots in May. They should be neither too immature nor woody at all. Peel their outer skin and soak them in salt water overnight. Per quart of vinegar add 1 oz of white Peppercorns, 1 oz of Coriander seed, 1 oz of Ginger, and a pinch of Mace. Boil the liquid. Take the Elder shoots from the saltwater, dry them with a clothe and cut into smaller pieces. Lay these out in a stone jar and cover with the boiling pickling liquid. Place the jar into an oven for 2 hours at medium heat. When ready fill into jars and close tightly.
Prepare 2 lb of berries by washing them and removing the stalks. Place in a pan and over slow heat bruise to release the juice. Add 1 cut onion, 1 teaspoon of Ginger, 2 tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of Cayenne and mixed spices (e.g. Allspice, Cumin, Coriander, Mace) and 1 pint of vinegar. Simmer until the mixture thickens, stir continuously and do not allow to burn. Fill into sterilized jars and close tightly.
Take one pint of washed and stalked Elderberries and place into a large jar. Cover with a pint of boiling vinegar and leave in a cool oven over night. Strain and press the liquid through a cloth into a pan. Add 1oz finely chopped shallots, 11/2 peeled, minced Ginger, 1/2 oz Peppercorns and a blade of Mace. Boil for 10 minutes and fill into sterilized bottles.