This post was last updated on September 12th, 2017 at 06:05 am
We have had a great crop of elderberries this year and faced the big question of what to do with such a bounty — Freeze? Can? Ferment? Wine and jam are great options for elderberries but our main use this season has been elderberry syrup. We have frozen elderberries raw to make syrup (or anything else) later in the season. We have also frozen the syrup itself. Both options work. The best option for you will really depend on your needs.
Freezing Elderberries Raw
The best method for freezing the raw berry is the basic tray freezing method.
- Wash and dry berries.
- Remove from stems.
- Spread out on cookie sheet.
- Place the tray in your freezer for a couple of hours until the berries are frozen.
- Move the frozen berries to a freezer bag or other freezer container.
- Freeze them in one or two cup measures so that you can grab whatever convenient measure you need.
With this method you have a stash of berries that you can use for anything. Take some out of your freezer as you need them, make your syrup or whatever other projects you have going.
While this freezer method is convenient and flexible, the most time-saving strategy is to freeze the elderberry in the state that you intend to use it — as syrup for instance. If you plan to can it or make a wine, just complete that project while you have a large quantity and scale the project. There is no need taking the time to freeze now (which is work in itself) only to make wine out of it later.
In our case, the best strategy is to make syrup and freeze it as syrup (though we keep a “canned” stash as well with a little more sugar). We can make the syrup in large batches and freeze it in usable-sized freezer containers.
Making your own syrup from fresh berries is extremely simple: Cook the berries in about equal parts water. Put the cooked mixture through a sieve to strain the small seeds and skin from the juice. Return the juice to the stove, add a sweetener of your choice to taste (elderberry really needs it), stir until the sweetener dissolves. That is all there is to it. The syrup freezes easily in a freezer container appropriate for liquids.