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Elderberry - Berries 


The elderberries come from the shrub of the genus Sambucus that give in their maturity red, blue or black berries. It is a genus of herbaceous plants that today are classified in the family of Adoxacenses. The Elderberry is also known as elder or sambucus.


Recent archaeological findings indicate traces of elderberry consumption in the Stone Age. The shrubs belonging to the Adoxaceae family come from Western Asia, North Africa and Europe. The scientific name of Sambucus probably comes from the ancient Greek sambúkē which designated a flute, an instrument capable of being made by hollowing out the marrow of its stems.


There are three main varieties. Firstly, Sambucus Nigra, or black elderberry, which has been acclimated to low altitudes. This 3 to 5 metre tall shrub is found in the wild in the woods. It blooms from May to June. The fruit is a sugary black berry that contains 3 seeds, but has a nauseating flavor. Secondly, the Sambucus Racemosa, also known as mountain elderberry or red elderberry, which, as its name suggests, grows at a higher altitude than its congeners and produces red berries. Third, Sambucus Ebulus, a herbaceous plant that can only be raised to two meters in heigh. The fruit is a small glossy black berry 5 to 6 mm diameter. The ripe fruit gives out a purple juice.

Other facts

In antiquity, elderberry was to protect homes by removing hexes and snakes. But among our British friends, this bush always brings bad luck. Black elderberry is not poisonous or toxic, it is only laxative and vomiting when consumed raw. Therefore, it must be cooked.


Although elderberries have acclimated in all temperate areas, especially in Canada, where they grow naturally in southern Quebec, global production remains confidential. The elder fruits come mainly from Austria, which remains the world’s largest producer of elder fruits, with an estimated annual harvest of 8,000 tons.

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