Elderberry (Adoxaceae Sambucus canadensis and Sambucus spp.) is an awesome plant for every wildcrafter to know! You may have heard of or even bought cough drops, cough syrup, or an immune booster made from elderberries. It actually does speed up the immune system and reduces inflammation, a common cause of most ailments!

Elderberries are rich in flavonoids, especially anthocyanins, which basically means it’s an antioxidant which promotes excellent health!

This recipe I tend to be a little reluctant to make some years because what I really want is the berries. However, once you know how to identify elderberry and start looking, you’ll realize there really is a lot of it out there!

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Also, the best time to find this plant is when it is flower because they are so much easier to spot! If you have space to grow this in you own yard, its an great thing to do for your family and wildlife. It loves edges areas, partial shade, and moist soils.


General: This is an opposite branching shrub with a pith. The bark develops spots in the older growth.

Flowers: White, tiny, in broad bunches, blooming in late May to June.

Fruit: Small black, blue-black, or reddish.

Leaves: Compound, pinnate leaves in sets of 5 to 9.

Look-Alikes: Red elderberry should be avoided, although you will find conflicting reports of its edibility. All others are edible when cooked.

It’s possible to confuse yarrow, Queen Anne’s lace, and poison hemlock with elderberry and they all flower at the same time and have somewhat similar white, bunching flowers. With time and practice, you can learn to tell the difference even from a distance.

Toxicity: The cooked berries of most species of Sambucus are edible, the uncooked berries and other parts of plants from this genus are poisonous!

Elderberry Fritters


  • 1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Milk or Substitute
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg or Cloves
  • 12-16 Elderberry Blossoms With Stems washed and patted dry
  • 1-2 Tbsp Canola or Coconut Oil
  • Confectioner’s Sugar for Dusting optional


  • With a whisk, just mix the flour, eggs, spices, salt, and milk into a thin pancake batter
  • Heat oil about a quarter inch in depth in to a medium high heat.
  • Dunk flowerheads into the batter one by one and place on your skillet or griddle.
  • Cook until golden brown.
  • Place on a place lined with a towel to catch the excess oil.
  • Cool slightly and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.
  • Enjoy!

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