Elder flowers bloom in June and give rise to berries in July that may be harvested in late summer and through the fall.

(Recipe: Salmon stuffed in peppers)

Dip flowers in your favorite tempura batter and fritter in canola or virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with beebalm blossoms, pansies and serve with wild black raspberries.
Red elder, S. racemosa ssp. pubens var. arborescens Torr & Gray) Gray on the slopes of Mt. St. Helens.  First people used them as food.  Berries were cook to avoid nausea.  Makes excellent tart jelly.


Sambucus canadensis L., found on the lake shore in my lawn and a short boat ride away.  I can gather enough berries to get me through the cold and flu season in about 5 minutes.  Dry them in food drier and use as needed (More).

Scarlet Elder or Red Elderberry on April 27, 2001, Love Creek,
Berrien County, MI.
  Scarlet Elder, S. racemos ssp pubens Michx. in bloom below
next photo.  Root and Bark emetic, cathartic.  Berry was eaten by Native Americans after drying
and cooking. 

SPANISH MEDICINE:  Black Elder, Sambucus nigra, called sauco in Spanish or sauc in Catalan; intussa in Basque grows wild and is widely cultivated for its many uses.  Fruit is prepared into alcoholic beverages and marmalades.  People I talked with did not eat flowers as I do, there is mention of eating flowers in Romo's book, Les plantes medicinals del Paisos Catalans.  The flowers are, however,  infused in water to treat coughs, colds: considered a lactogogue, diuretic and diaphoretic. 

Chemistry:  malic acid, valerianico, carotenoids, vitamin C in leaves, bioflavonoids: sambucina; resins,  potassium nitrate, sambucigrina, isoquercitin, vitamin C, acetic acid in fruit.

Commercial growth of the plant is to extract the essence for food stuffs.  Much is processed into cold and flu remedies sold in the United States and Europe.

Medicine: Leaves are laxative and hemostatic.  The inner bark is used as a purgative and diuretic. Flowers are considered a lactogogue, diuretic, diaphoretic and cough suppressant.  Fruits are anti neuralgic, laxative, purifying (helps remove waste materials from body).

Black Elder growing near the church in Setcases, Catalan, Spain (Pyrynees).