Elderberry

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by GillianR, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. GillianR

    GillianR Member

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    I would like to grow an elderberry tree in order to eat the fruit and use the elderflowers for cordial. What type would you recommend? Where can I find elderberries here in BC (south Surrey) so I can have them now and see which type I like? Will one plant do me or will I need two?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Sambucus nigra is the usual choice for fruit. One or two local retail outlets may be planning to stock it this season, make inquiries to find out. Otherwise you may have to look for a fruiting plants specialist. We have at least a couple of the latter here in WA but don't know about them shipping to BC.
     
  3. GillianR

    GillianR Member

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    Thank you, Ron. I'll check around.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Bum steer! The prevailing fruiting cultivars belong to S. canadensis, not S. nigra.
     
  5. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    Sambucus mexicana is the favored (by the wine makers) local variety. The ripe fruit appears a chalky robin's egg blue because of the waxy surface coating. Hardy to ~zone 7.

    Ralph
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Depends on where you are! Over here, S. nigra is the one grown. Of course some botanists consider S. canadensis to be just a subspecies of S. nigra, including USDA:
    http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SANIC4
     
  7. GillianR

    GillianR Member

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    Thanks Ron, Ralph and Michael,
    Sounds like I have a choice. Now I just need to find some berry samples...............


    Michael,
    When I was in Britain I had elderflower cordial (Green Bottle) and loved it. Do you know if they use S. nigra for the cordial.
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    "Sambucus canadensis...Purple fruits are edible, being high in Vitamin C. Usually used in pies, jellies, jams, preserves, drinks, sauces, chutneys, fruit soups, vinegar, pancakes, muffins, or fermented into wine. Unripe fruits and unexpanded flowers are pickled like capers. The flowers are dipped in batter and made into fritters, added to pancakes and muffins to lighten them and provide a distinct flavor, or made into elder blow wine. Dried flowers are used for tea.

    Sambucus nigra...The fruits are used in wines, chutneys, ketchups, preserves, jams, pies, juices, or made into pontack sauce. In Portugal, they are employed for coloring inexpensive port wine. The juice, mixed with equal parts of honey, is used as a spread. Dried flowers are brewed into a sweet tea. Flowers are made into sparkling wines, drinks, fritters, or are added to salads. Shake the blossoms over a salad at the last moment, without washing them, or the fragrance will be lost. Elderflower tea can be used for brewing kombucha, the resulting beverage having a delicious champagne-like character. Leaves are used to impart green color to oils and fats."

    --Facciola, Cornucopia II - A Source Book of Edible Plants (1998, Kampong Publications, Vista)

    where are listed ten cultivars selected for fruiting characteristics under S. canadensis and none under S. nigra.
     
  10. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    a) Elderberries usually grow as shrubs, not trees.
    b) I've eaten the fruits of Sambucus nigra cultivars (Guincho purple and what I bought as 'Variegata' but Ron always corrects me when I use that name) and survived,
    c) the A-Z encyclopedia says all 'parts' may cause discomfort if ingested but that berries are safe when cooked, although another source that I can't recall at present said that the berries of Sambucus racemosa need cooking but that those of S. nigra are safe to eat raw.

    I think most nurseries sell the ornamental cultivars.
     

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