Sandra Reaves of Josie Gladys Gardens discusses Elderberries which are long recognized for usefulness as both nutritional and healing fruit. Scientific studies have shown it effective to prevent and fight viral infections. Elder - or Sambucus nigra - is found in Europe and North America. It was thought that there were different species on the two continents. Recently, the American Elderberry plant became recognized as the same soecies as the European Elderberry. This is good because the European Elderberry has been touted as having the best healing properties. So now we can feel confident that Elderberries in our backyards are powerful too. Elderberries flower over a very long period and are highly ornamental large shrubs. Their flowers are huge cymes of tiny white flowers. They are edible and can be cooked as fritters.
The fruit appears as tiny green single fruit, but there are dozens on the cyme. Elderberries should be cooked before consuming them. The heat of cooking converts a harmful constituent leaving only immune boosting flavonoids, anthocyanin, and Vitamins. Since Elder is native it may just appear in your yard. It grows canes and will often pop up from the ground several feet away. Pick the berries when they are purple-black. Make sure to remove green ones and cook the remainder with cinnamon and to make syrup. When cool, strain it and mix in raw honey to taste. For more information, visit Sandra's Facebook page - it includes lots of pictures, tips, how to videos, and info on veggie trials going on in the garden. It's a "real time, real life" look at home gardening and food preservation. You can find her at www.Facebook.com/JosieGladysGardens.
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