Foraging for elderberries (s. nigra) in Ohio

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by OldFashionedMama, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    I want to make some elderberry jam this year, but I haven't found a plentiful source yet. I saw several large plants in the Lake Milton area (rt 534 heading into Craig Beach), but they're all so scattered I think it might be too time-consuming to find all the owners of the lands they sit on.(Yes I'm nice about it and ask permission first.) I know most if not all elderberry hunters would be willing to reveal their harvesting locations, but if anyone is so kind to point me in the right direction I'd sure appreciate it!
     
  2. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    sorry, Mama, I only go after blackberries, which are plentiful here ;)
     

  3. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

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    I don't have any elderberry know how. In Ontario we like blackberries, blueberries, etc. Never heard of anyone going after elderberries.
     
  4. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    Well, elderberries can be used for food or medicine. A tincture of the flowers can be used to treat the flu, fevers. The berries can be made into jam, syrup, or wine. Elderberry juice is a powerful antioxidant and also an immunity booster. I purchase a product called Sambucol at the health food store and give it to the kids during the school year. Its rather expensive though, and I think the same effect or even better effect can be achieved if I just make my own elderberry things. The berries must be cooked or otherwise processed and never eaten raw, and the leaves and other parts of the plant are poisonous. You also have to make sure its the black elderberry you are using and not the red variety (which can sometimes be hard to distinguish from the black)
     
  5. Magi

    Magi Active Member

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    Im not old enough to hunt for "Elder" berries.:eek:

    Not even sure what they look like. Do you know if they grow in Michigan?
     
  6. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    You will want to take a peak at the wikipedia page that lists the locations where you can find / harvest elderberry.

    It is a similar plant to blue berry and saskatoon berry by being a plant that grows naturally without requiring cultivation. You can plant / take care of the berry plants if you want to grow them in your backyard (if you have sufficient room).
     
  7. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

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    You must first get by the knights who say "nee". They will probably demand a shrubberry! :D
     
  8. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    ROFL!!!!! I think the French knight mentions something about "your grandmother smells like elderberries!" or something to that effect in that movie!!! Oh man I need to see that again....
     
  9. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    I'm sure they do. They are in bloom right now in Ohio-hard to miss! They have big clusters of cream-white flowers, and some plants can get very large. Just look for a bushy tree with lots of white clusters...not too much else blooming right now that looks like that.
     
  10. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    "your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries!"

    "I fart in your general direction"

    :D :eek: :D ;)
     
  11. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

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  12. doc66

    doc66 Well-Known Member

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    Elderberrys are a pain in the butt to harvest. Most people let the tree get too big to harvest well. As for locations... I have none to suggest other than keep an eye out for them, many times you'll find that people don't even know they have the tree until the birds are pooing blue all over their cars.
     
  13. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

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    I guess they are around the Ohio area, I was at the Planktown Rd. Amish bulk foods store and saw Elderberry Jam for sale.
     
  14. CVORNurse

    CVORNurse Well-Known Member

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    ok, at the risk of sounding like an idjit ( slang for idiot around here), is this plant an elderberry? My mom was introduced to fire ants when we first moved to this area foraging for Poke Salad, but no one I knew of foraged for elderberry.

    These were not here when we first moved in 20 years ago, they just showed up at some point. I thought they were some sort of weed and have been chopping down the ones by the house until I chanced across this post and started searching on elderberry. Now I am curious to know if that is what these are.
     

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  15. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    Yup those are elderberries!!!! I just found one in my mom's yard....wasn't there 5 years ago. They seem to spring up out of nowhere, and they grow very quickly. They shouldn't be allowed to get too tall, otherwise you need tree loppers to harvest the berries.
     
  16. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    Yes..this happened last year at my dad's place. It seems to me that elder trees grow but don't produce flowers or fruit for the first several years. One decided to "wake up" last summer...no one had ever noticed it before because it never bloomed-but when it did we realized how HUGE it was and couldn't believe no one had ever seen it before. I was taking a look at it last night at our July 4th party and as long as someone throws a net over it to keep out the birds, it will be dripping with berries. (so I guess my original question has been answered LOL!)
     
  17. CVORNurse

    CVORNurse Well-Known Member

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    OMG(hanging head). I have been breaking the limbs off for the past year and feeding them "weeds" to the goats, who love them, btw.
    Oh boy, now that I know....... My hubby brought home to me a bottle of elderberry wine several years ago, it was yummy. I will be watching them from now on. They certainly seem to propogate freely. There are small ones coming up all in the back yard. Hubby will groan I am sure, but at least I do have one source of berry in the immediate yard. He already is shaking his head because I want him to leave the Poke salad alone, it is all over the same general area. I have no immediate plans to eat it, but if it is there... and my mom and dad may want an occasional mess to remind them of their childhoods.

    Just goes to show you how important it is to learn about your local environment. Guess it really is past time for me to invest in some sort of plant identification book.

    Thanks for confirming my suspicions.
     
  18. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    I think elder trees are gorgeous in bloom! No need to tear them down. I personally despise pokeberries and the miserable plant that bears them...but I had to pull out poke roots that were decades old from an old garden and it was not fun. If your elder is still flowering, go take a big whiff of the blossoms. It isn't what you'd call a pleasant scent, but it is totally intoxicating. Some legends say to sleep under an elder is to risk insanity, still others warn never to make any furniture out of elder wood, especially baby cribs. The spirit of the tree will pinch the baby, or the person unfortunate enough to sit in a chair made of elder. Burning elder is even worse, bringing misfortune and the wrath of the elder spirit. (sorry I'm into all that voodoo hocus-pocus LOL!)

    The Audubon Society has an excellent field guide with hundreds of real life, color photographs. Peterson's is good as well. However, I have a liking for the guides written around the turn of the century. We have one titled "How To Know The Wild Flowers", written by a Mrs. William Starr Dana. Not only is her expertise in botany intensely accurate and complete, her descriptions of the plants are very entertaining. It isn't just a field guide, it's a literary masterpiece. The edition we have was published in 1912, but I believe the first edition was in 1900.
     
  19. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    I'VE FOUND IT!!!!! I'VE FOUND THE PLACE!!!!!!!...

    unfortunately it is located in Mill Creek Park. My husband and I took a walk on a remote path yesterday evening and found it overflowing on the bank of a stream that feeds into Lake Newport. The entire area is a wild food goldmine, loaded with blackberries, elderberries, river grapes, and who knows what else.

    In previous experiences dealing with the park, I know they are rather hostile to anyone picking anything and will fine you or ban you from the park if you are caught. However, this area is so hidden away the chances of anyone seeing us would be low. It's pretty swampy and gross back there, and it didn't look like many people used this path. But at least I know where to go...
     
  20. lanahi

    lanahi Well-Known Member

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    I live in a place with a wild area in back that is a virtual garden of Eden. You can stand in one place without moving and pick three different kinds of fruits! I've found three elderberry trees among them. I would try planting some of the berries and try to get them to grow.