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Johnny Elderberry

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Medsen Fey

Fuselier since 2007
Premium Patron
You undoubtedly remember Johnny Appleseed, the real-life legend who planted apples all over North America. I've decided to follow in the footsteps of greatness, only I'm doing it with elderberries. Why elderberries you ask? Well in addition to making some damned fine meads, both elderflowers and elderberries have potent antiviral properties and may be helpful even against coronaviruses - see HERE and HERE.

These are likely Sambucus Canadensis and they grow wild and are native to Florida as well as many other parts of the country. Some of you that have been in these parts for a while may remember my elderberry picking adventures. I haven't done any picking lately due to time constraints and the fact that one of my best picking sites got developed.

Unfortunately, the ones I planted in my yard had to go. They are aggressive and grow like crazy and will take over your yard. They are also difficult to stop. You can cut them to the ground, and they sprout back and may even produce more berries. You can spray them with round-up and they can still survive. I had to cut them to the ground and spray them with weed-killer and repeat to finally clear them out. You can take a cutting and stick it in the ground and they can grow.

There are some living out along highway 27 where they grow wild, but I have to drive a fair distance, so I've decided I need to expand my options for picking. My plan is to discreetly take cuttings and plant them around some of the wet areas near the Fusel Shack. There is some land that is is reserved for wetlands and nature, and I am placing some cuttings to help get things going faster. These will be within an easy walk or bike ride from here and over the next 12 months, should ensure that I have a steady source of berries. I don't know if what I'm doing is exactly permissible, but these are native plants, and we are in the midst of a pandemic, so I'm taking some liberties. If someone decides they need to go, they are welcome to try to take them out (I wish them luck).

We will see how things go.
 
Last edited:

MrBuhl

NewBee
Registered Member
Apr 12, 2019
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0
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Virginia
I have thought about doing this very thing as well. I make Dry Elderberry Mead 2x per year, adapted from Jack Keller's great recipe. Would love to have access to fresh berries, they grew on my Grandfathers farm, but I am quite a distance from that now, and my sister hoards them all for jelly anyway. Not that I'm complaining, I often get a jar or three of that!
 

bernardsmith

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Sep 1, 2013
1,584
8
38
Saratoga Springs , NY
I gotta say that I have never had any success growing elderflowers from cuttings. A relative of my wife has given me cuttings several times over the years and while they grow wonderfully in his yard in ours they squat for a year or two and then give up the ghost. I have no idea what I am doing wrong. And the irony is that we LOVE elderflower wine which I make three or four times a year (though always from dried elederflowers).

Medsen Fey if you have some extra cuttings I would happily pay for you to mail me a few once the epidemic surge has subsided and we can get back to our places of work.
 

Medsen Fey

Fuselier since 2007
Premium Patron
My first mead was an elderberry melomel, and it was delicious!
They do make excellent meads. You don't even have to use fresh berries. Vintner's Harvest fruit wine bases make a very good elderberry mel. You can see the recipe in the Patron's brewlogs for my Golden Oldie Dwójniak Meadeira which won a medal before I cooked it.

Still there is something about harvesting fruit and using it that I find enjoyable, so berry-picking I will go.
 

bernardsmith

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Sep 1, 2013
1,584
8
38
Saratoga Springs , NY
Etowah Meadery - Drink Unique
African Bronze Honey - 50% off for GotMead members