Photo: Sambucus-berries by Edal Anton Lefterov. Own work licensed under CC BY -SA 3.0 via commons
Elderberry (sambucus nigra) is a small tree that can reach up to 3 metres in height. It produces creamy white flowers in June and these are followed by black clusters of drooping berries in September.
The berries are best picked as a whole cluster, and the berries then stripped off the stem with a fork. The berries can then be frozen for future use. It is not a good idea to eat the raw berries as they can have a considerable laxative effect. This effect disappears once they are cooked.
The berries can be used to make jam, wine and syrup. They can also be added to muffins, cup cakes, and biscuits.
The berries contain Vit B17 which some sources consider an anti- cancer herb.
Traditionally elderberries were used to boost the immune system, and to shorten the duration of colds and 'flu.
If the berries are frozen, a decoction of frozen berries can be taken at the first sign of 'flu symptoms. Keep the decoction in the 'fridge to prevent it spoiling.