RECIPE: elderberry pie recipe anyone...

vieja_gwMay 21, 2013

Back on the Iowa farm of my grandparents there were elderberry bushes that we were told as kids not to eat as the berries stained not only us but our clothes; of course, we had to try them any way! Now last year I bought two varieties of elderberry bushes & now they are over 6 ft. tall & tops full of whilte flower clusters .. can't (nor can the birds I expect!) wait for the berries to ripen so I can make a pie. Would anyone remember these berries & have a recipe for pies from them? Of course, I may not like them now either as childhood memories often change with the years!! They & groundcherries- which I do grow now also- are labor intensive to harvest but: OH! those pies! I'd also like to find an easier way to harvest the berries from the clusters .. as kids I guess the small stems didn't keep us from eating them! I had some info. awhile back but guess I have lost or misplaced it.

Thanks for any ideas!

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I hope this recipe will help you.

This recipe is very basic and can be used for Blueberry, Huckleberry, and Blackberry Pie as well as Elderberry. I don't always use the lemon, depends on the tartness of the berries I'm using. I have been making pies for fifty years and this is my favorite recipe. When short of berries I have replaced the difference with other berries or chopped apples. Grandma always used apples when she was short of berries.

Elderberry Pie

5 cups fresh ripe elderberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Prepare double pie crust.
Stem and wash berries, drain. In bowl mix sugar, flour and salt. Toss mixture with drained elderberries. Pour elderberries in to pie shell and sprinkle with lemon juice if desired. Cover with top crust, crimp edges and cut slits in top for steam to escape.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes and reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 25 more minutes or until juice is boiling and thickened.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 4:40PM
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Thank you 'deeter'... that sounds like a good basic berry recipe! Due to late frost our plums, peaches, apricots bloomed but froze. The apples did set some fruit that is developing to a nice size but for the first time we have had birds nibble off both the buds & tiny apples that began ot develop. Guess with the drought we have had now, the regular bird food is scarce so they came to my 'pantry'!! Now I dread when the elderberries ripen ... will try & cover them with netting. At least we won't have a problem of thinning out the developing apples as we usually have to do!

Thanks again for your recipe!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 6:26PM
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Your welcome vieja! We also had a hard freeze when our fruit trees were in bloom and so far there is no sign of fruit at all. We also have plums, peaches, apricots and apples. This is the first year that we didn't get fruit at all off any of the trees. Our grapes are loaded this year, so at least have those this year. They are green seedless table grapes and looking forward to when they are ripe.

Have a great day!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 9:49AM
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I like elderberry fritters. Just pluck the blossoms-much easier than the berries! Use a light tempura batter or lite beer batter & deep fry. Yum.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 1:52AM
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vieja, my grandmother and mother always made elderberry pies, and so do I. :) They didn't have a recipe so I just winged it to create my recipe many years ago and this is what I wrote:

Put a layer of sliced apples on the bottom crust... I think it improves both flavor and texture. Then for the filling to place on top of the apples, I mix:

4 cups elderberries
1 tbs. lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tbs. cornstarch

Dot w/ butter, then proceed with top crust.
Bake at 425F for 35 mins. or til done (crust nicely browned and elderberries bubbling).

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 7:42AM
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Recipe sounds good! I have been SO disappointed though when the berries this year from the first year after planting were so 'blah!" No flavor or tartness at all... I am SO upset! My memory it seems they were rather tart when we kids ate them. Are your elderberries tart or have any real flavor at all? Someone said the first crop after planting will be that way but it is a mystery to me...! If the same next year, those bushes will be dug out; the bushes grew from the 18 in. twigs planted last spring to bushes over 8 feet tall this year & full of blooms & tasteless berries.... no way would they ever be used in a pie... no flavor at ALL!! Birds even left them alone!
Do you have a special/easy way to glean the berries from the clusters ?

I also have ground cherries which come up from seed all over every year & I love to use in pies but they are a bit on the bland side also so I use a bit of lemon juice in the pies also... no sugar needed! Now those are REALLY labor intensive to pick up the individual husks from the ground, take each berry from the husk, etc.!! Have you used them also?

I live at 5200 ft. in a high desert area; temps get below freezing most winters, summers in the 90's & low rainfall (except this year!!)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 1:25PM
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vieja, my elderberries were plentiful but a little bland this year because we got SO MUCH RAIN!!! if you had a lot of rain this year, not enough sun, and lousy (cold) temps, it probably accounts for the poor taste. There are loads of wild black raspberries that grow around here and they were terribly bland this year! I also grow my own blackberries and the clusters were LOADED -- but they are far more tart than usual. It was just a bad year for berries here due to the excessive rain. :p

I pull the elderberries off the stems by hand. It's tedious, but I always do it. I once read that if you put the entire stem w/ berries in the freezer, that once frozen you can use forks to pull the berries off easier and faster. I never tried it because I figured the forks would have me flinging berries around the room, but maybe that does work. You could give it a try next year!

Sorry, I have never harvested or eaten ground cherries, so can't offer any suggestions on that.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Thanks!,until this past week (!) we here in New Mexico have experienced years of drought so don't think too much rain during the season was the reason. As for you mentioning your elderberries were a bit 'bland'... that is not even the word I would describe my first crop... more like completely 'tasteless'...'blah'! I know my memory of those Iowa elderberries we loved as kids loved couldn't be that far off! My 'Triple Crown' thornless blackberries though tasted pretty much the mormal flavor.
Hopefully, next season will turn out better for the elderberries!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 11:04AM
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we are about to get a killing frost and wondered how I should treat the elderberry bushes? They are ?8 ft. tall huge bushes now but only a foot or so 'sticks' when I planted them last year! Do you cut yours back severely in the fall or just leave the bushes as they grow every year? Will they bloom & set fruit on the old as well as the new growth? I have forgotten so much about elderberries growth ... just that I loved the elderberry syrup & pies back on the farm in Iowa when I was a child!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 8:28PM
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