Madman got a line on some free elderberries. A woman we know, mother of a friend, said she had tons of them, and he was welcome to come pick as much as he wanted. (Her late husband had cultivated them. Word is, he would make wine out of anything. Literally anything. The results were generally excellent, though there was once an unfortunate experiment with tomatoes...)
Madman joyfully went over this morning and picked elderberries. And picked. And picked.
He came home with three grocery bags full. Woohoo!In an effort to avoid those previously mentioned purple fingers, we used forks to strip the berries from the stems.
We filled three 4-qt bowls. Three gallons of elderberries!! What bounty!
There were a few hitchhikers...
Several of those caterpillars turned up. And there was a Japanese beetle.
We mashed the berries. (The Japanese beetle was mashed separately.) Because what would be a better thing to make from elderberries than elderberry wine?
We used about half the berries to start a 4-gallon batch of wine. We won't be able to truly enjoy it until at least a year from now. Long range planning at its best.
I also made a batch of elderberry cough syrup for the coming winter. It smells so good, I can hardly wait to get sick...