How to Dry Elderberry


Elderberries cannot be eaten raw. Not only do they taste terrible, but they contain a small amount of a poisonous alkaloid that can make you sick. Drying elderberries gets rid of the alkaloid and concentrates their unique flavor. Once dry, elderberry has a number of uses. It can be made into an infusion or a tea to relieve cold and flu symptoms. Or, it can be used in a number of recipes. Dried elderberries, if properly stored in the refrigerator, can last up to six months.

Step 1

Wait until elderberry clusters have turned upside down and their fruit is ripe and purple to pick them. Overripe elderberries are unsuitable for drying.

Step 2

Rinse any dirt and debris off the elderberry clusters.

Step 3

Hang the elderberry clusters in a cool, dark place until they are dry. They should be suspended so that their berries hang down.

Step 4

Poke several air holes in a paper sandwich bag and place it over the berry clusters (secure the top of the bag with a rubber band). As the elderberry dries, the bag will catch any berries that fall.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper sandwich bag
  • Rubber band


  • Moscow Food Co-op Gardening: Elders
  • United States Department of Agriculture: Common Elderberry
  • Chow: Elderberry
Keywords: dry elderberry, dry elderberries, how to elderberry

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.