Yesterday I gathered more elderberries.
See all those stems in there? In the picture, it looks like it would be so easy to pick those out. It is NOT! I love having elderberries but I so dread cleaning them. That pile is about 9 pounds, including the stems. I divided it up into three grocery sacks, found room in a freezer for them and left them overnight.
My plan for today is to put them in a big bowl, in small portions, go outside and shake the heck out of that bowl. In theory, the berries stay on the bottom and all the twigs end up on top so I can then come back inside where it’s cool, and pick out the stems. Then I’ll add water to the bowl and more of the stems/debris will float to the top and I can skim that off. Then I’ll juice the berries and strain the juice so I should end up with nice, clean juice.
From there, I’m not sure what I will do. My preference is to make enough syrup for us to consume over the next month, freeze the extra juice, take it out as needed and make syrup but there is not one square inch of space in a freezer. I don’t want to can the juice because I feel like canning it takes away some of the good properties.
I don’t want to do it but maybe I’ll take enough tomatoes out of the freezer, cook those down for sauce and I can put elderberry juice in place of the tomatoes in the freezer.
Vince told me already that we need to go out and cut more elderberries. Note to Self: Make sure there’s some amount of space in the freezers next summer BEFORE the elderberries need harvesting.