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Elderberry Jelly

With a deep berry flavour, Elderberry Jelly is an excellent way to preserve the fruit of the Elder. Easy to make from a usually abundant harvest

Elderberries being mashed during preparation for jelly making
Elderberries being mashed during preparation for jelly making

When harvesting Elderberries, don't forget to keep an eye out for bird poop hiding among the clusters of berries. Ripe berries are easy to remove from the stalks, but very ripe berries will squash between your fingers. The juice stains clothing purple-blue, so take care during preparation

Recipe ingredients

Good amount of Elderberries

Cupful of water

Jam sugar

Citric acid or lemon juice


  1. Remove the berries from the stalks by gently rolling them between your fingers

  2. Rinse berries taking care not to have water flow too strong as this will damage the fruit

  3. Add enough water to pan to cover base by around 0.5cm depth

  4. Add berries and bring up to a medium heat

  5. The berries should start to split and release their juice, but if the base of the pan starts to get dry, add a few tablespoons of water

  6. When the berry juice starts to release freely, get a potato masher and gentle squash the berries in the pan - you should feel them pop like bubble wrap

  7. Once the popping has reduce to almost none, remove them masher and strain the juice through a jelly bag - leave to strain for around 3 hours

  8. Measure the remaining liquid, and for every ml of water, measure 1g of jam sugar (eg 500ml water = 500g jam sugar)

  9. Add the jam sugar and strained juice to a clean pan

  10. Add the citric acid or lemon juice at a rate of 1tsp citric acid/juice of one lemon per litre of liquid

  11. Prepare sterilised jars

  12. Bring to a rolling boil until the liquid reaches set point (105 Celsius)

  13. Bottle in sterilised jars, complete by canning and allow to cool

If jars are sterilised and canned correctly, your jelly should last for 1 year unopened, and 1 month opened and stored in a refrigerator.

If you wish to make syrup instead, at step 12, bring to the boil for three minutes then cool and bottle in sterilised bottles.

Discover more wild edibles and recipes on a foraging course and read more about Elder here.

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!


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