October 5, 2009
Well, I am happy to say that the Elderberry bushes I transplanted last fall have survived and are doing well. I did not get any berries from them this year, but they are growing, so the roots have established themselves.
I did find some elderberries to harvest though. I tried to improve the freezing method for cleaning elderberries this year. I have a post on how to clean elderberries. I also found another source of elderberry information. CrackedCork has a write up on how to clean elderberries by knocking them against a bucket. I plan on trying that next year.
I have my first batch of Elderberry wine fermenting now. I have enough elderberries for at least two more batches. Hopefully next year I can double that!
February 23, 2009
I just wanted to post an update on my elderberry cleaning process. I tried rolling frozen Elderberries over cheese cloth laid on a large cookie sheet. I had limited success with this system. The problem was that the cheese cloth would get coated with stems after a short while and not catch any more stems. I was only able to clean about 1 pound of berries this way. I think it needs to be bigger, or have the cheese cloth moving. I will have to try a larger version of this.
Bramble Farms has a nice write up on how the clean Elderberries, I am going to have to try that this season. I’ll keep you posted of my progress.
November 30, 2008
It has been awhile since I’ve last updated this page, I’ve been busy remolding my house. I did manage to get some elderberry bushes transplanted from my father-in-law’s field to my field. He was going to mow down the field, so I had to move the bushes. From what I have read, Elderberries can be transplanted when they are dormant. I will find out since I transplanted 24 bushes in November. The bushes were dormant, so they should be OK. I did not have a lot of time to prep the field first, so I will have to add manure and compost to them in the spring.
Here is some of what I have learned about cleaning elderberries. Some of this I learned on my own, some of it I have found on the Internet. I will be posting all the links I have found and the bottom of this page soon. For now here is an overview:
- The best way to clean elderberries and not have a lot of stems is to shuck them by hand. This is a slow tedious process. When making wine, stems leave a “green goo” in the primary fermenting bucket that has to be cleaned with vegetable oil. They are also add a bitter flavor to the wine if there are too many. It takes me about 1.5 hours to shuck 10 lbs of berries.
- The easiest way to shuck elderberries is to freeze the whole bunch and then shake the frozen berries in the box. The berries fall off the stems, and the stems break. It took me about 10 minuets to clean 10 lbs of berries this way, but there were a lot of stems. Currently I am looking for ways to seperate the stems from the frozen berries.
- 3 mesh sized screen is good for the first run of separating the berries from the stems. 1/4 inch screen is just a bit small for the size berries I am getting. 3 mesh is the next size up and has 3 holes per inch rather than the 4 holes per inch in 1/4 mesh. I run the berries over the screen and it catches the big stems and lets the berries and small stems fall through.
- To remove the small stems I plan on rolling the frozen berries down a flat surface covered in cheese cloth. I hope the cheese cloth will snag the smaller stems while allowing the berries to roll by. I will let you know how it goes.
Well, that is it for now. I will be posting links and more information as time allows. Happy wine making!
October 21, 2008
The elderberry project got started because I love Elderberry Wine! The Elderberry Project is me trying to find the best way to produce a lot of elderberries for wine making. The problem is that there is not a lot of information on large scale production of elderberries. What I have found, I will be sharing with you as time allows.
My current plan is to plant and grow wild elderberry bushes that are growing in my area, cultivate them, and harvest elderberries to make wine. I have the land, I can get the bushes, and I will document everything I am doing here for you to read. If you have any information, comments, or suggestions on growing and\or producing elderberries, drop me a line at frugalwinemaking /at> gmail <dot\ com.