Harvesting Wild Elderberries
Do you have fond memories about harvesting wild elderberries as a child? We received a great email a couple weeks ago from Marcia who had found us fellow elderberry fanatics on the web. Marcia sent us an email full of her childhood memories of elderberry. We’re so glad she did! We love hearing stories like these and we got to thinking “why keep them to ourselves”? They make us smile and we think they’ll do the same for you! This is the first post in what I hope will be many to our Elderberry Stories Series. In order to protect everyone’s privacy, I’ll only share first names, and of course omit any information that may be “identifying”. If you have a story that you’d like to share, please send it to me!
Excerpts of Harvesting Wild Elderberry Stories
The following excerpt is from Marcia’s email. Elderberry continues to be an important part of life for Marcia and her extended family, so much so that family wagers have become part of their “elderberry tradition”! Read on and see what I mean….
“My grandmother, one of the people who carried on the elderberry love in our family had more knowledge of plants than I ever will! She passed a few years ago at 96. She taught my mother, her daughter, to use elderberries for pies, jams, etc. My mother remembers that her and my great grandmother made wine as well, but it seems that wasn’t passed on! lol
As children, my brother, sister and I would be put to work, with lots of friends, gathering elderberries and then coming home to pluck them by hand from the stems. We’d get a quarter for every pie plate that we filled! lol We’d chase each other with stained hands out in front like bear claws.
During the first years I was married, we purchased the old “starter home” in the city of (omitted for privacy). I couldn’t have been happier to find that the tiny yard had not only currants but a pussy willow bush and an elderberry bush! Only once was I able get enough berries to make a pie. It was delicious!
Luckily we, my husband (a city guy), our two girls and I, moved out to the country about 16 years ago. I brought starts of my elderberry, gave a couple to my brother, but unfortunately, did not have to sense to bring the pussy willow (which I can’t find for sale anywhere) and the currant.
My brother has also started to carry on the tradition. He lives in (omitted for privacy) and started making jams last year. I try to get at least one pie for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas each year. I’ve even thrown in some wild raspberries that grow on our property. Some years are better than other, because the birds can get to them but I seem to get at least one every year and that’s great!
Since coming across your website, I have challenged my brother to make wine this year! The winner, the one who makes it successfully first, will have to take the loser to dinner. Not to be left out, our little sister, who has never had an interest, the time or the property for berries, decided that she would go on to the dinner too! lol I may need to purchase berries from you to ensure my success! ;)”
Thanks for the great story, Marcia. We wish you the best of luck with your wine making challenge, and, don’t tell your brother, but we are rooting for you! If you need a good recipe, with lots of “how to” advice, this is one of the best I’ve found.
We hope you’ll Share the Stories shared here of Harvesting Wild Elderberries with your social circle so more elderberry lovers can enjoy them and Norm’s Farms Elderberry products.