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Requested Recipe:


"Do you have a recipe that has elderberries in it? I've found
one with dried berries, but I haven't been able to find
any recipes with fresh elderberries. "
Wayne Harrison


There are many recipes for fresh elderberry wine. I live in Texas, where elderberries are native but not common, and so I usually use dried, imported ones. Still, I have many recipes for fresh elderberry wine. I've included two of the better recipes below. The first recipe only uses 3 pounds of berries while the second uses 10 pounds. This is a huge difference and the wines reflect it, but both wines are very good. If at all possible, preserve the wonderful color of elderberry wine by placing the secondary fermentation vessel in a closet or other dark place. Similarly, either bottle the wine in dark bottles or store the bottles in a dark place. When you pour a glass, you'll be glad you did.

Elderberry Wine (1)

Bring water to boil and stir in sugar until dissolved. Meanwhile, wash, inspect and destem the elderberries. Put them in nylon straining bag, tie closed, and put in primary. Wearing sterilized rubber gloves, mash the elderberries and cover with the boiling sugar-water. Cover and set aside to cool. When lukewarm, add acid blend, yeast nutrient and crushed Campden tablet. Cover primary and wait 12 hours, then stir in pectic enzyme. Recover primary and wait another 12 hours, then add yeast. Cover and stir daily, gently squeezing the bag to extract flavor from the berries (don't forget the gloves or you'll be sorry). Ferment 14 days, then drip drain the elderberries (don't squeeze). Combine drippings with juice and set aside overnight. Rack into secondary and fit airlock. Put in dark place to protect the color from light. Ferment two months and rack, top up and refit airlock. Repeat two months later and again two months after that. Stabilize and wait 10 days. Rack, sweeten to taste and bottle. Store bottles in dark place for one year. Then enjoy. [Adapted from Terry Garey's The Joy of Home Winemaking]

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Elderberry Wine (2)

Wash, destem and inspect the berries for ripeness and soundness. Put berries in a stainless steel or enameled pot with 3/4 pound of sugar and half the water. Slowly bring to boil while stirring occasionally and turn off heat. Cover and set aside to cool to room temperature. Strain berries over primary through a nylon straining bag and hang bag over primary to drip drain for two hours. Very gently press pulp to extract a little more juice, but do not overdo this. Stir in remaining sugar and dry ingredients (except yeast) and stir well to dissolve. Add enough water to bring to one gallon and add yeast. Cover primary and wait for active fermentation. Ferment 2 weeks and siphon off sediments into secondary. Top up and fit airlock. Ferment two months, rack, top up, and refit airlock. Repeat after additional two months. Stabilize, wait 10 days, rack, sweeten to taste, and bottle. Age one year before tasting. [Adapted from Julius H. Fessler's Guidelines to Practical Winemaking]

My thanks to Wayne Harrison for the request.

This page was updated on April 1st, 1999

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