Elderberry Adventures

It’s elderberry season once again, that wonderful fruit which was the very first herb that I worked with, over 15 years ago when I first began the initial tentative steps on this long, strange path I find myself walking.   Recently I’ve made up the first large batch of spiced elderberry syrup for the winter, and a couple of days ago, I brewed up the first small jar of elderberry rob.

Destalk your elderberries into a pan – a fork does a nice job of this. You can do it by hand as well if you fancy a long, slow, meditative process.
Add some slivers of fresh root ginger, a little cinnamon and a couple of cloves if you want to, then heat the whole lot slowly until the elderberry skins begin to break ahd the juices flow.

Now comes the messy part – for this you need a jelly bag, a strong grip and a large dish with a colander sitting in the top of it.   Put all your elderberries and juice into the jelly bag, allow to cool, then gather in the sides and squeeze out as much juice as you possibly can.  This is a gloriously messy business, and, as elderberries can stain rather effectively, not a job to be undertaken when wearing clothes you don’t want to get splodged with elderberry juice.


Measure out your juice, just to have a rough idea of how much it will reduce down by. Then put the whole lot back into the pan and bring to a simmer.
Simmer gradually until it reduces down to no more than a few tablespoons of liquid in the bottom of the pan, then pour into a small, clean jar.
Just to give a rough idea of how much it reduces down – here is the jar with the finished elderberry rob in, against the side of the measuring jug. This particular batch of rob could possibly have been reduced down even more, looking at it.

This elderberry rob is sugar free – the only ingredients you have added is a little spice to taste.  No water or sugar has been added in.  I find that this keeps perfectly well in the fridge for surprisingly long periods of time, and is richly tasty.  Stir it into a cup of boiling water for a vitamin C boost, or even just have a tiny bit straight off the end of the spoon if you want.   Because I am personally not wildly keen on having large amounts of sugar in my diet, this is my perferred recipe these days.  I’ll pop up my elderberry syrup recipe in the very near future as well though!




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