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Can You Freeze Elderberries?

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By Ross Young

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It’s difficult to find a fruit quite as quintessentially British as elderberries. These tiny, tangy berries are in season in later summertime and can be made into delicious juices and syrups. You can even make wine!

They are in season for such a short time that you need to get picking so you make sure you have enough. But what can you do about storing them? Can you freeze elderberries?

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze elderberries. Elderberries can be frozen for around 6 to 8 months. It’s a bit of a fiddly process because the berries are so tiny but it’s well worth the effort to keep your elderberries fresh and tasty.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

How to Freeze Elderberries

Freezing elderberries does take a little preparation work because the berries are so tiny, and you have to be careful not to freeze the stems. The stems and seeds of this plant are poisonous, and if you eat them in large enough quantities, they could make you sick.

In order to freeze elderberries follow this process.

  1. Pick Elderberries
    Pick and harvest your elderberries, you want to choose elderberry stems that look free from damage, and the elderberries should be ripe and ready to eat. Try to avoid choosing green berries.
  2. Wash and Dry
    Wash the berries well and leave them to dry.
  3. Remove from Stems
    Once the berries are dry, remove them from their stems. This is the trickiest part of the whole process because the berries are so small. As you remove them, check the berries for quality and remove any that are showing signs of spoiling.
  4. Flash Freeze
    Grab a baking sheet or flat roasting dish that is suitable for putting in the freezer. Lay some parchment paper on it, and they pour the berries onto the baking sheet. Make sure the berries are spread out evenly on the tray, and then pop this into the freezer for about thirty minutes.
  5. Transfer to Bags
    Once the berries are frozen, you can remove them from the freezer and transfer them into a freezer bag. Freezing the berries this way means that the berries are less likely to freeze in a clump, and you can measure out the number of berries you need rather than have to defrost the whole bag.
  6. Label
    Label the bag with the date and contents.
  7. Remove Air
    Squeeze out as much air as you can from the bag and seal it closed.
  8. Freeze
    Put the bag into the freezer until you need your elderberries.

How to Freeze Elderberry Syrup

If you like to turn your elderberries into elderberry or elderflower syrup, then you can also freeze this. The best method to do this is in ice cube sized portions so that you have just the perfect amount of syrup per portion.

  1. Cool
    Once you have made your elderberry syrup allow it to cool completely.
  2. Decant Into Ice Cubes
    Grab some ice cube trays and put them onto the kitchen counter. Pour a little elderberry syrup into each section of the ice cube tray. Make sure you leave a little gap at the top of each ice cube section to allow the syrup to expand as it freezes.
  3. Freeze Cubes
    Put the ice cube trays into the freezer. Ensure you keep them flat and leave them for a few hours until the syrup cubes have frozen.
  4. Bag Up
    Once the syrup has frozen, you can take the trays out of the freezer and transfer the cubes into a freezer bag.
  5. Label and Freeze
    Label the bag with the date and contents and put it in the freezer.

Can You Freeze Elderberry Syrup

3 Tips for Freezing Elderberries

Now you know how to freeze them, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing elderberries to have the best results:

  • Only Freeze Perfect Berries – For best results, you want to ensure you only freeze the best. There are some changes in the fruit when it freezes, with the berries becoming softer. Damaged fruit can be even worse and become mushy when frozen.
  • Suck Air Out with a Straw – If you are struggling to get the bag airtight, you can use a straw to suck out the air. Close the bag almost all the way and pop a straw into the bag. Suck out the air and then seal the bag tightly.
  • Flash Freeze – By freezing them quickly on a tray, you can prevent the majority of them from sticking to one another. This will make it far easier to grab a portion as and when you want them.

How Long Can You Freeze Elderberries?

Elderberries should be fine in the freezer for between six and eight months. Any longer than this and the berries can start to degrade.

You Can Freeze Elderberries for up to 6 Months

How Do You Defrost Elderberries?

When it comes to using your elderberries, you should be able to get away with using them from frozen. For many recipes, they might even work better from frozen! All you have to do is follow the recipe as usual, and when it says to add the elderberries, add the frozen elderberries.

Can You Refreeze Elderberries?

We would not recommend that you refreeze elderberries. Freezing them will change the texture of the elderberries, and the more times you freeze them, the worse this gets. They might even end up spoiled.

Do Elderberries Freeze Well?


Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing elderberries or elderberries in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Elderflowers?

How well elderberries freeze does depend on how you plan to use them. The texture of the fruit will change, and they will be much softer than when they were fresh. This makes them perfect for use in recipes like jams, jellies, syrups, juices, smoothies and wines, but unfortunately, it does make them difficult to eat as fruit on their own.

Freeze Elderflowers

How Do You Remove the Stalks from Elderberries?

The stalks can be quite challenging to deal with. Freezing can actually help here. If you want to use the elderberries right away, then freeze them on the stalks. Once the berries are frozen, you should be able to pull them from the stalks with ease.

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