This is my current favourite view in the garden. This late, dark pink and yellow honeysuckle with those dark, juicy elderberries intertwined. These are some of the last colours that we’ll see in the garden before it’s all about the autumn leaves and on one hand, I’m sad to see the summer go – but on the other hand, I absolutely love autumn.
Elderberries are signs of the colder seasons to come and, just like the frothy white flowerheads in the spring that herald (and treat) hayfever, so too these berries speak of winter coughs and colds. And guess what – they are also the key remedy for them. Nature is clever like that 😉
The internet abounds with elderberry syrup recipes these days. I like to cook mine up with cinnamon, star anise, ginger and green cardamoms, and just enough sugar to preserve my elderberry remedy. Packed full of vitamin c these wonderful berries also have a strong anti-viral component – that even tested positively against H1N1 flu virus when it was the main concern. Oh, those innocent days!
Many people believe (incorrectly) that elderberries are poisonous. They are not BUT some people have a reaction to the uncooked berry and if you are one of those unlucky ones it will make you violently sick. That’s why I always cook mine – it doesn’t happen to me, but I’d hate to inflict that on anyone!
Across the British Isles, this tree was revered as being home to the Elder Mother and woe betide you if you cut one down. She is supposed to protect the faeries that live in the area and you must always ask the Elder Mother before you take anything from her. So be sure to ask before you pick those berries!