As fall comes along and the weather gets colder most of our edibles will go through a change. Some are less edible at this time of year and others are getting to their best. Many of our greens have passed their season or they are putting their energy into their roots. With fruit bearing plants this is a time when if they still have fruit to offer that fruit will start to get sweeter because the plant will put it’s energy (sugars) into the fruit. This means elderberries are bigger and less tart than they are earlier in the year.
Here in Utah we have the blue elderberry (Sambucus cerulea) and red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa). I have not seen the black elderberry tree at all yet. The red elderberry has been reported by some to have toxic factors in the seeds. I have eaten several hands full of them this year with no ill effects but we are all made different so who knows how others will react. The blue elderberries on the other hand are plentiful and delicious. You can make a great jam or syrup from them and they are valuable to fight the flu so gather as much as you can. You can freeze them or dry them for later processing if you desire. I generally will cut the entire umbel of berries and then freeze them like that and pull the berries off after they have frozen. They come off quite well this way without any stems.
We harvested a lot of great tasting food this past weekend again. Elderberries are getting good sized in AF canyon above Silver Lake Flat and the Oregon grapes are getting sweeter and big up there as well. There are still some chokecherries that are ripening but many that were ripe and dark. It made for a good harvest and I think the Nobles enjoyed it.
We saw a lot of Oregon grape and it was hard to leave any of them unpicked. They were large and juicy and tasting pretty good this time of year. We ended up with gallons of berries all together, Elderberry, Oregon grape and Chokecherry with a little Serviceberry mixed in.
Wow! So many edibles and so little time. Our Elderberry harvest went well on Saturday. We saw many other plants and collected a lot of elderberries and chokecherries. There is such an abundance up there and it was just a beautiful area to collect. I noticed many other stands of elderberry as we drove up and as we came back down. There are also many other delicious berries available up there.