I really love elderberries. These are some of mine that have just popped up. The big one is at the bottom of my year, by the road. I have yet to actually get any berries though. The birds get them all. So there are some really healthy birds around here! These are also all along the roads where birds have planted them.
This one is pretty tall and wide. The insect population is all over the flowers right now. On a single flower head, there could be several different types of insects. I have noticed my honey bees all over them too.
Mine have from 5-9 leaves on each stem. Some can have up to 11 leaves.
This one just popped up in one of my gardens last year.
This is the big one growing up through the barn in the South pasture.
There are so many things you can do with elderberry flowers and berries. I found a good recipe for elder flower lemonade a few years back. You just take several handfuls of the flowers and cut off as much stem as possible. Slice up about 8 organic lemons, add to a gallon of water with a few cups of sugar. Add flowers. Put some cheesecloth or paper towel over top and place in a warm spot for several days. Stir a few times a day. After about 4 or 5 days, it should be nice and bubbly. Strain off flowers and lemons. Refrigerate. Add some lemon slices and ice and enjoy! It is SO good. I can't do this anymore because of the sugar. But a friend is making some with honey. I'm going to try some of hers tomorrow and see if it works with honey.
I also make elderberry syrup for fall, winter and spring, to keep from getting sick. I have been doing this for several years now and have not had a cold or flu or any serious illness since. I keep telling people about it. All it is is 1 cup of dried elderberries in 4 cups water. Add 2 cinnamon sticks, 10 whole cloves and about 2 T. chopped fresh ginger. Bring to boil, then simmer til reduced a little. Let it cool, then strain. Add 2 cups raw local honey. I put this in colored glass jars that I've saved from my vitamins. It needs to be kept in the fridge. It makes about 4 cups and will last awhile.
And I have always wanted to try elderberry wine. One day I will do it. Has anyone else made it?
And if you have any recipes, I would love to see them too. I bet the dried berries would make some good muffins or pancakes.