Embrace the health benefits of elderberry for seasonal wellbeing
28th October 2015
All of our elderberries come from eastern Europe. The berries used in our Elderberry and Echinacea tea are wild-collected in Hungary. The berries used in our Elderberry Syrup are cultivated in Hungary and Poland.
Elderberries are perfect for wild collection; they grow in abundance and can be harvested every year without harming the plant. Our wild elderberries come from southern Hungary, where there is still a thriving industry of wild herb collection. The collectors, who are predominantly of Roma origin, have formed a small cooperative made up of about 30 people. Every year they harvest the fresh berries from a patchwork of different sized areas of organically certified land. The fresh berries are immediately taken to our local partner for drying and export.
In addition to elderberries the collectors harvest a variety of other herbs, including elderflower and nettles, which we also use in our teas and herbal supplements. By harvesting herbs, or herb parts that mature at different times of the year the collectors are able to spread their workload and generate a regular source of income.
So, remember, if you go elderberry or elderflower collecting, leave some for wildlife – they are an important source of food for many migrating birds, as well as small mammals such as dormice and voles.
How are elderberries processed?
Depending on whether we are blending elderberry syrup or elderberry tea, the berries are either dehydrated or juiced.
Berries destined for our teas are dried in whole bunches in a large hot air dryer at about 45°C for 2 days.
The elderberry syrup is prepared from a concentrate, which is made by evaporating freshly squeezed elderberry juice under low pressure at a low temperature to preserve the medicinal and nutritional properties.
The elderberry juice for our syrup takes 6kgs of berries concentrated to 1kg, giving you an amazing 12000mg of fresh berries for every 15mls of syrup.
Did you know?
The flowers and berries are indigestible in their raw form, so it’s always best to cook them before eating. They’re delicious when added to a blackberry and apple pie!