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Old 10-04-2009, 03:31 PM   #51
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Finally done!

Earlier, in the summer, I harvest several gallons of (not yet stemmed) elderberries but had no time to deal with them. I read somewhere or other that stemming the berries was easier once they were frozen so into the freezer they went until a few days ago. Well, lemme tell you, they are NOT easier once frozen. Lesson learned.

I finally got them stemmed in a rough way and ended up with roughly six gallons of berries. They did a looooong cook over low heat, getting crushed with my potato masher. After that, I put them through my food mill, then my Chinaman's hat, and finally through cheesecloth. Overkill R Us but I squeezed every last bit of stuff out of them.

After more reduction of the juice, I ended with a gallon of pure, thick juice to work with. I added in enough sugar to reach the 70% mark and then veered of the snake-infested, PCS-beaten path. I had several ounces of elderberry tincture I'd made a dew years ago that no one can stand to take. Remembering the discussion here how tincture and syrup can bring out differing medicinal qualities, I figured why not try to bring them together since the alcohol would only further help preservation of the syrup. I didn't have a large enough quantity for it to act as a preservative itself but I had the 70% sugar already so that was fine.

I now have 17 pints of very tolerable elderberry syrup cooling on the table. It's much better than the stuff I made last time from dried berries I ordered! This stuff should also be even stronger since I reduced it so much.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:39 PM   #52
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Congrats on your 17 pints!!! With the size of your tribe, don't be surprised if they go quick in a heavy flu season or two!

My easy-peasy way of de-stemming elderberry umbrels...with a dinner fork!

Hold the umbrell upside down and gently 'comb' the berries from the stems. If the berries are perfectly ripe, they will come apart from their stems easily.

'nother tip: You want to be certain that only the darkest berries go into your medicinals, no light colored or red berries, which could cause nausea. Pick them off the umbrels BEFORE combing the berries with a fork.
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:57 PM   #53
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I have a wide-tooth comb that I use just for elderberry stemming. It's even purple. Easy enough to do when fresh -- just don't ever fall for the easier-after-freezing like I did this year.
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:33 AM   #54
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I made the elderberry with vodka a few years ago and while it's still good, I can hardly take it. It's the alcohol - just about burns the inside of my mouth and throat. I'm going to try mixing it with honey next time I have to take it.

But next time I make it, I'm sure going to go with the sugar prep! Wish I'd known about that when I made it before. I've got a lot of medicinal herb books and not a single one of them mentions the sugar prep method. I've wondered since just how people in the good old days, living in cabins far from anyone else managed to get hold of the alcohol to use. Sugar - it makes sense so many ways!
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:53 PM   #55
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Actually spinner, it's easier to make alcohol at home, sugar is extremely difficult and time consuming to try to make. I do think in the "old" days the medicinal herbs were used mostly as/in very strong herbal teas though.
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:39 PM   #56
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If there is any value to taking the tincture straight I've not heard of it. I don't have any problem with it myself but if I did I'd make a screwdriver with it.

OH
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:41 AM   #57
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I can't see how mixing it with something wouldn't be just as good as 'straight'. If you're sick you need plenty of fluids, right?

If you want to make an ElderScrew to help the medicine go down, go for it!

Hmmm, orange mixed with dark purple - what color does that make?

Reminds me I have some berries steeping in the basement. I need to go give the jars a shake.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:47 AM   #58
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With orange juice a screwdriver........

With milk of magnesia a philips screw driver.....

With prune juice ....................

OH
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:35 AM   #59
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http://www.bvnpt.ca.gov/education/sc..._schools.shtml Probably a way to complain about the spam since it looks like the school is approved by the state board

feel free to delete this with the spam. TIA
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:00 AM   #60
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what I nee to know : does it work ?
any study ?
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