Tart and earthy, black elderberries are in abundance right now as summer gives way to fall.
Technically, even though the black elderberry appears to be non-toxic, it’s best to eat them cooked, even if only slightly. They have an earthy taste that hints of sweetness but doesn’t quite get there, which is in a way, refreshing. They also lose any bitterness they have once they are cooked; leaving you with an earthy, complex flavor that is neither sweet nor sour.
Black elderberry is also called Sambucus Nigra. They are native to temperate climates in both Europe and the North American continent. The only variety that isn’t toxic when raw is the Sambucus Nigra, so be sure you know what you are picking and then cooking in order to stay well. The elder tree actually has many phases of culinary influence.
The flowers can be made into cordials and added to salads or other foods and the berries make a great wine, jam, pie filling or addition to soups and stews.
From a health perspective, elderberries are a great source of vitamins and minerals. It is high in vitamin C, B, and A and has an amazing variety of phytonutrients that contribute to the decrease of both systemic inflammation and oxidative stress. sambucus nigra has long been a folk remedy. It has been used for colds and flu, both as a relief for chest congestion but also for immune boosting. Research suggests that it is indeed good for quite a number of ailments. It stimulates the immune system so it helps to decrease colds and flu as well as yeast infections and other bacterial/viral infections. It is tumor inhibiting and also helps healthy cells get healthier while mutating cells deconstruct. It has also been found beneficial in managing blood sugar and helping with weight loss.