The elderberries in the trees around the property are teeming with black ripe berries and so we organised an event at the weekend to get collecting and make some products for the winter. After a few hours of collecting berries we end up with 3 full big boxes.
It is a social activity washing them and sorting them into big pots to get on to the next part of the process. This included a discussion as to whether or not the berries should be taken off the twiggy bits or whether we should just put everything including twigs in the pot. The first big batches were done without the twigs and when people started getting tired of that process they moved on to doing it without the twigs. I think when we use the pulp for making mousse it is best to take them off the little branches to reduce fibrous material in the mousse later.
Elderberries contain traces of cyanide, it is always best to cook them first in order to avoid possible buildup of cyanide which can metabolise later and lead to poisoning. You shouldn't be put off by this, elderberries are medicinal and very tasty.
And so.... we borrowed the juicer from our lovely neighbor Regina which is basically a steamer with a nozzle where the juice conveniently comes out and can go straight to the bottles without any hassle. Having said that you do have to keep an eye on the water as if you leave it to boil it will eventually dry up and you will burn the pan.
Once the cooking process start it is only a matter of time and patience and over a couple of days we managed to produce around 30 liters (c. 60 bottles) of elderberry juice and as a by-product sweetened crunchy elderberry mousse.