Friday, July 19, 2013

Elderberries Promising

Last year the birds ate all my elderberries. But then, that seems to be generally how last year went. After the dogs and raccoons killed the chickens, the deer ate the pears and squash and few other things we grew successfully. But this year, the garden shows so much more promise. Mostly a difference in how much effort we've put in.

Look at these elderberries.

You can see the birds have still gotten some of them, but they seem to be leaving them alone now. I wonder if they like them at a certain stage and then as the elderberries get bigger, they aren't so appealing. Works for me. I was afraid I might have to figure out how to cover the bushes with something protective to have any elderberries. This felt like an overwhelming task, since the bushes are getting pretty tall and bushy.

So what can you do with elderberries?

I planted the bushes for medicinal purposes. Elderberries, along with yarrow and peppermint, make a great glycerite that I use for the cold and flu season. It's nice, because it tastes pleasant and the kids don't mind taking it. The combination helps to build the immune system and works to keep them from getting sick. Whenever we hit that season and the colds and other sickness start going around, I tell the kids to take a couple doses a day, hoping to avoid any sickness.

It seems to help. We are generally pretty healthy.

However, this is not the only thing I do with the elderberries. When I first got married, my mother-in-law had made elderberry jelly. I thought it was one of the yummiest things I'd ever tasted. So two years ago, when we did have elderberries, I made some. My kids agree with it being the yummiest. There was only enough for a few bottles of jelly and they were prized and carefully rationed. When we pulled out the last one it was a sad, delicious moment.

This year, there will be more jelly. My kids will love me for that.

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