How to make Elderberry Jam

Merry meet all,

Today I am sharing a recipe with you. When I was visiting my sister in Pleasant Bay, we made organic elderberry jam. Is it ever delicious! It may seem like lots of work to gather four cups worth of elderberries, but it is worth it. Note: Elderberries are poisonous until cooked. Do not ingest them until the berries are thoroughly cooked. Do not eat elderberries found in the wild. Now, that said, the wild is the best place to gather them. Ask the Elder Tree Mother for her permission to gather the berries from the tree.

Elderberries are made into jams and wine. Hippocrates called the elderberry tree his medicine chest. Folklore comes with this fruitful tree. People still creep around the tree, rather than risk earning its wrath. It is believed that a spirit dwells within the tree. She comes to reclaim her sacred wood. Folkard, in Plant-Lore, Legends and Lyrics, tells us:

“The pith of the branches when cut in round, flat shapes, is dipped in oil, lighted, and then put to float in a glass of water; its light on Christmas Eve is thought to reveal to the owner all the witches and sorcerers in the neighbourhood.”

Hylde-Moer, the Elder-Tree Mother, shares a history with witches:
“The word ‘Elder’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon word aeld. In Anglo-Saxon days we find the tree called Eldrun, which becomes Hyldor and Hyllantree in the fourteenth century. One of its names in modern German – Hollunder – is clearly derived from the same origin. In Low-Saxon, the name appears as Ellhorn. which meant ‘fire,’ the hollow stems of the young branches having been used for blowing up a fire: the soft pith pushes out easily and the tubes thus formed were used as pipes – hence it was often called Pipe-Tree, or Bore-tree and Bour-tree, the latter name remaining in Scotland and being traceable to the Anglo-Saxon form, Burtre.”

How to make Elderberry Jam

The recipe is in the book The Joy of Cooking. You will not need to buy pectin for this recipe. You will use apples which contain natural pectin. You require sterile clean glass jars and screw top lids. You will need a kit for making jam. The jars are hot and the tools prevent you from burning yourself. You will need a stainless steel pot with a flat bottom. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture as a wooden spoon will not contain chemicals from a plastic spoon that could leach into your mixture.

The recipe is as follows:

4 cups elderberries
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup water in pot
2 chopped and cored apples. Cut the apples into fine pieces.
If the berries are tart- remember, they are poisonous until cooked, use s scant cup of sugar to 1 cup of fruit. These are not high pectin fruits. Add lemon juice or one to two apples, chopped and cut into fine pieces. Apples have a natural high pectin content.

Measure the fruit, put into the pan, crushing the lower layers to provide moisture. and cook over low heat from thirty to forty-five minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer and stir frequently from the bottom until sugar is dissolved to keep jam from sticking. Cook until a small amount of jam dropped on a plate will stay in place. Mix well and keep stirring over medium heat. Simmer the fruit in the uncovered pot. Bring the fruit mixture to a boil and continue to stir, until no sticking occurs. Reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, and allow for additional thickening as it cools.

Pour the jam into the jars carefully. Keep a damp cloth to clean the rims of the jars nearby. Also, wait to hear if the jar lids ‘pop’. That will tell you the jars are sealed. Fill the jars to 1/8 inch of the top.

Once cooled, store in the fridge. Enjoy your organic elderberry jam!

Sources Cited:

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(