Elder trees are beautiful this year. Most elders grow from a small stumpy bole and the older the bole the faster the growth of new energetic shoots spurt. The whole of the plant smells both leaf, shoot, stem and bark and all of these including the root are poisonous as they contain something similar to cyanide. The green parts of the pant therefore make an excellent insecticide and ward off problematic attacks of all types of insects. Best results are obtained when the plant is picked and crushed – but wash hands well after exposure to the juice from the leaves and stems.
The elder fruit called elderberry, is worth its weight in gold because it is known for its ability to kill and ward off viruses. It may be eaten in many ways – for those who like only sweet things then it will readily be made into a jam or compote. The fruit may be boiled with sugar and sieved off making a rich syrup for pouring onto breakfast cereals or over deserts. It makes a beautiful jelly that can be served as a sweet or used as an accompanying relish with foul, game or pork. It also makes a wonderful rich tonic wine that is both thick and potent. Perhaps the hardest part of harvesting elderberry is the stripping of the fruit off the tiny stems --- but it produces the most wonderful supply of healthy immune booster ~~~ and best of all IT IS FREE AS IT GROWS WILD JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE!!
The blossom is almost sickly sweet and very heady and makes an excellent champagne or fizzy Summer wine.