madonna del piatto

Italian family cooking

Elderberry jelly


the beautiful little berries

My father will not touch my elderberry jelly. Despite my assurance that I have been eating it for years and even his beloved granddaughter has had it with no ill consequences, he is still convinced that it’s dangerous.

Not even when I tell him that you can buy it in most supermarkets in Switzerland and Germany. What do these Nordics know anyway?

Indeed it is true that bark, leaves, seeds and the raw or unripe elder fruit contain a cyanogenic glycoside, which is potentially toxic. On the other hand, the elder plant has been used as a medicine, to fight influenza and inflamation for hundreds of years. It is also supposed to ward off evil influence and protect from witches. Even Harry Potter has an elder wand.

However, I must say, it does take some wizardry to make elderberry jelly. The berries are tiny. Picking, cutting off the stems, pre-cooking and sieving to remove seeds it’s time and work intensive, and results in only a few precious jars.

Luckily, thanks to the suggestion my friend and preserving wizard Giulia I have recently acquired a steam juice extractor. See in the video below how fabulously easy is to juice the berries, it’s better than a witch cauldron!

To make the jelly I use same amounts (weight) of sugar and elderberry juice, powdered pectin according to package instruction and the juice of 1 lemon/ lt ( 4 cups) juice.

Magical. With cheese.

the elderberry jelly

Author: madonnadelpiatto

Former scientist, I now run B&B and cooking school Alla Madonna del Piatto in Assisi, Umbria, central Italy, together with my husband Ruurd, daughter Tea and truffle dog Google. We love good food and wine, travel, beautiful handicrafts like textiles and pottery. We feel fortunate to be able to share our magical mountain with many friends from all over the world.

3 thoughts on “Elderberry jelly

  1. Very cool video, Letizia — my jar of jelly is now twice as precious, knowing how much work was involved!


  2. It looks lovely, Madonna. I posted a link to you on my Taste for Travel page on Facebook.


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