Elderberry harvest is well and truly underway. A busy time but one look forward to. The Wild Dispensary team have spent the last few weeks harvesting this amazing powerhouse berry for our amazing Immunity Tonic and Elder Switchel.
Sam, Ged, Ruth and Skye selectively picking the best bunches for harvest.
We wild harvest this amazing berry from the Tairei plains, which is just on the outskirts of Dunedin and slightly more sheltered from the coastal conditions. And a hot spot for wild elderberry trees! Harvesting elderberries is a time consuming job - selectively picking, de-stemming, then processing and production BUT it is so worth it for the huge benefits this plant gives us.
The elder tree has been used across many countries traditionally for centuries. It has been used in parts of Asia, all through Europe and also Africa and America. Part of the reason it is so popular is due to its massive antiviral effect. It is also high in antioxidants due to its deep purple colour and also its anthocyanin properties.
Elderberry has been used to help with winter ills and chills and symptoms of common cold. It helps protect the respiratory tract from infections and supports the body’s immunity. We love this berry and use it in our Immunity Tonic as well as in our Elder Switchel.
Typically Elderberry is harvested late summer and this year we saw an abundance of elderberry growing roadside (even on our recent drive through to Queenstown) however we never wild harvest close to roads as road pollution can contaminate the berries.But the seeing all the berries was still pretty magical.
You may recognise Elderberry trees around your area if so when harvesting look for deep purple berries, they grow together in a cluster so it is important that all the berries are ripe as the green ones can be toxic . Pick them before the birds get to them (and if you are not able to process them straight away you can freeze them).
A side note if you are interested in harvesting some yourselves- ALWAYS cook/heat your elderberries.
The WD team