The newly published The Berry Bible by Janie Hibler has become one of my favorite books because it not only includes Berry History from A-Z, but also Health News, and Recipes for Coolers, Cocktails, Breads, Soups and Salads, Sorbets, and Pastries. I'm currently experimenting with growing blueberries, gooseberries, and elderberries. Why elderberries you may ask? Elderberries are not only healthy but have an interesting history. Per The Berry Bible, "Hippocrates wrote about the healing properties of elderberry in the 5th century B.C... and many cultures throughout history used elderberry and dried elderflowers to treat a variety of illnesses, from bronchitis to the flu."
While I was traveling in the UK on business this year, I bought a bottle of Elderberry Wine to bring back to the U.S.
The book mentions a Citrus-Elderberry Summer Cooler Recipe (non-alcoholic) from Chad Finn, a berry expert at Oregon State University who enjoyed this elderberry cordial while on a research trip to England. Here's the recipe:
-Juice of 4 large oranges
-Juice of 1 large lemon
-2 ounces tartaric acid (available at beer & wine making shops)
-6 cups sugar
-25 elderberry blossoms from a blue or black elderberry (rinsed)
Blend the orange and lemon juices with the tartaric acid in a large bowl until the tartaric acid is completely dissolved. Add 6 cups cold water, the sugar, and the blossoms placing them into the liquid. Cover and macerate in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Strain through cheesecloth or a fine strainer and discard the blossoms. Pour the citrus-elderberry cordial into bottles and serve diluted, 4 parts water to 1 part concentrate, over ice. It will keep one month in the refrigerator or frozen for up to 2 months. (Recipe courtesy of The Berry Bible)
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