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Elderberries & Syrup

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been keeping a close eye on all the Elderberry bushes that I’ve located on the country roads and around town. I have a habit of scoping out the terrain, so to say, for plants that I can snag cuttings of or fruit that I know will otherwise fall and be wasted. First I watched the bushes turn green again with all the rain we had. And then they bloomed beautifully with the creamy white bunches of flowers. I collected some of those flowers for tea and syrup. Once that time passed, I watched and waited as the berries started to appear, and then as they started to turn color. Patience, I kept telling myself.

For a bit of time, I forgot about them. Once I tell myself that I have to be patient and wait, it’s like my mind decides that it can be distracted with other things until the right time arrives. Harvest time! And it snuck up on me, and called to me while I just happened to be out running a couple of errands. All of a sudden, berries were ready for collecting! Boy, did I act in a hurry knowing that if I didn’t they would likely be eaten by birds. You don’t need fancy equipment or ladders. Just time.

It might sound funny, but one of my favorite things about this time of year is having berry stained fingers. It’s a reminder of the bounty of nature, the slow moving collecting of the fruit, and knowing that the fruit of my work will be something delightful.

My second collecting of fruit ended up starting to turn quickly with the heat wave we have experienced. Rather than getting to dry these berries for keeping, I added them and some herbs to a huge pot and burbled them away to make immune supporting syrup. I was thinking, after the fact of course, that you could also use berries that start to ferment to make a homemade soda or even add some vinegar for a lovely shrub. There’s always some way to use what you have before it’s gone too far!

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