Real or fake elderberries?

Real or fake elderberries?

Photo: Colourbox

Cooling elderflower juice is one of the summer flavors, and it is best with homemade juice. But then comes the question of whether you have picked the real elder or grape elder. Dare to pick when you have learned the difference, and learn about what is toxic.

What are genuine elder and false elder?

When you talk about "real elder" it is elder Sambucu nigra (alternatively referred to as "shelf"), as referred to. It is the flowers and berries that are edible, and which are used for juice etc. There are several elder relatives, but the plant it can be most confused with is the grape elder Sambucus racemosa. All elderberries have poisonous plant parts, but the flowers are non-toxic. The berries are slightly toxic, and should not be consumed raw. Most of the toxins disappear when heated. Although the berries of the elderberry are used in other countries, the most and typical taste is found in S. nigra. And to differentiate them, there are several simple tricks below.

Distinguish genuine elderflowers on the flowers

True elder, Sambuccus nigra, has flat inflorescences. Photo: Colourbox

Flowers on "true" elder (Sambucus nigra). White, large flocks that have the unique elderberry scent. The inflorescence is flat at the top and can be set upside down on a flat surface, without tipping. Blooms in June-July.

Flowers on "false elder", elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) Photo: Colourbox

Flowers on "false elder", elderberry (Sambucus racemosa). The flowers are yellow, lack the significant elder scent and the inflorescence is more like an upward-pointing cluster or cone. The grape elder blooms in April-May, ie earlier than true elder elder.

Distinguish genuine elderberries on the berries

Real elderberries have black berries, and grape elderberries have red berries. Photo: Colourbox

Genuine elderberry (S. nigra) to the left. The berries are first red, but turn black when ripe in September-October. Red stems, the clusters still flat. If you squeeze the berries, there will be plenty of dark red berry juice.

Grape elder (S. racemosa) to the right. Bright red berries in rounded bunches. Ripens in August and are poisonous.

More differences between elderberries and grape elderberries

If you want to know which bush you have on the plot, if there are no flowers or berries at the moment, you can snap a twig. If the marrow is white and light, it is genuine elder, while the marrow of the grape elder is light brown.

Also read: Elderberry juice and other recipes with elderflowers

Elderberry juice is wonderful many people think and pick them and make their own. But then it is important to take the "real" elder, or "shelf" as it is also called. It is the flowers and berries of the one that are edible, but the berries should not be eaten raw. But there are several elder relatives, and the one with which it is easily confused is the poisonous and "fake" grape elder and summer elder.

Real elderflowers have flat inflorescences, white large flocks, bloom in June-July, and smell elderberry. It is so flat that it should go and set it up and down without tipping. Its berries are black (first red). Grape elder has yellow flowers and the inflorescence is more like an upward-pointing cluster or cone, but it lacks the typical elder scent. It blooms in April-May and has bright red berries in round clusters. You can also snap off a piece of the twig, if the marrow is white and light it is genuine elder, while the marrow of the grape elder is light brown. On the summer elder, the flowers have red stamens. and it blooms in June-July.

Plant elderberries

For those of you who want to get started planting elderberries in the garden, there are some good guidelines to know for your elderberry to thrive and develop as well as possible. Although they thrive well and can grow in most types of soil, it prefers a slightly more acidic, nutrient-rich and humus-rich soil. It also likes to stand in a direct sun position where it gets plenty of light, even if it does well in partial shade as well. It may vary slightly depending on the variety you buy.

Elderberries can be propagated with seeds that you sow in the fall, at least in the case of pure varieties. Otherwise, it is cuttings that give the best chance of success, and planting should take place during March - April.

Plant cuttings in a pot indoors

  • If you are going to take a cutting, it is appropriate to do in the fall. Then take a piece of a branch where there is a dormant bud, and plant it indoors in a pot with sandy soil and good drainage.
  • Let it grow indoors during the winter, before it is time for planting in the spring.

Plant finished plant

  • For those of you who have bought a ready-made plant, ie pot-grown, as most elder plants are, it can be planted throughout the season.
  • Dig a pit in the place you have chosen for your elder, and place your plant there. If you do not already have a nutrient-rich and humus-rich soil, you can advantageously add such soil again, once you have planted the plant. You can also fertilize a little extra with some nitrogen-rich fertilizer directly at planting.
  • Water thoroughly as soon as you have finished planting, and then try to keep your elder planting evenly moist throughout the growing season.
  • During the summer, you should avoid fertilizing your elderberry.


The elder is a beautiful and useful small tree / large shrub. It is available in different varieties which differ in leaf color and shape, and you can use both flowers and berries in cooking. In addition, it is conveniently large. Elderberry is an excellent plant for any garden.

Water requirements:

White Green leaves Dark purple leaves Light green leaves

Genuine elderflowers belong to the desm bud family and grow naturally from Europe to western Siberia, it is also found in Africa, Turkey and the Caucasus. Elder is a shrub or multi-stemmed smaller tree that grows 4-5 meters tall. The leaves are pair-leafed, and sit on the opposite side of the branch. The elder forms creamy white flock-flowered flowers in July and the flat inflorescences smell wonderful. The floral scent attracts pollinators. The berries are formed in August, they are first red and then darken to become black and glossy when fully ripe. There are decorative elderberry varieties in the garden trade, such as blood elderberry that has pink flowers and dark reddish-purple leaves, yellow-leafed elderberry, or herbaceous-leafed elderberry. All varieties have edible flowers and berries.

Elderberries can be grown well up to zones 1-4 (5). Elderberries generally thrive in most soils, and thrive in both sun and partial shade. However, it thrives best in somewhat acidic and muddy soil, in a place with walking sun. Feel free to talk to the staff in the market garden about which variety to choose depending on location, as it may differ between the varieties. When planting elderberries, mix the excavated existing garden soil with 50% Bark Soil, place the elderberry in the planting hole, and fill in with your soil mixture. Step on to remove any air pockets. Water properly!

The elderflowers can be attacked by aphids (especially if the plant is too dry).

Sometimes genuine elderflower is confused with grape elderberry which is poisonous. However, they have different flowering times, the grape elder blooms already in May with yellowish flowers that grow in spiky, rounded clusters (and not flat like the flowers of the genuine elder). If you are unsure, smell the flowers, if they do not smell of elderberry, it is grape elderberry. In addition, grape elderberries have bright red berries, unlike true elderberry berries which turn black at full ripeness. Grape elder is also called false elder.

A couple of weeks after planting, you can fertilize with Fertilizer for fruit and berries, and in the autumn fertilize with Garden Fertilizer Maturity so it is strengthened before winter.

Also prune young elder plants easily, so they become dense and get a good shape when large. Pruning should be done during early spring, or during the JAS months (July-August-September). Adult elder plants can withstand fairly hard pruning, thin out older branches, cut in long branches, and it will be dense and flower-rich. It is also possible to stem elderberries for a more tree-like appearance.

From the flowers of the elder you can make juice or spice brandy. The berries can be used to make juice, jelly or liqueur. When you make juice from blood elder that has pink flowers, the juice gets a wonderful pink color.

Freeze the juice in ice cream jars instead of pouring into a bottle, so you do not have to use citric acid. When you are going to make juice, dig out a fair amount of frozen elderberry juice (the sugar does not make it too hard frozen) and put it in a glass, fill it with water and you get an ice-cold soft drink. The kids love it!

Elderberries can be propagated both with seeds to be sown in the autumn, or with cuttings taken in the autumn. Plant the cuttings in a pot filled with S-Soil, replant in P-soil when the roots start to appear at the bottom of the pot. Let stand indoors during the winter. Plant it outdoors in the spring when the risk of frost is over. Do not forget to soften it first, that is, to protect it from the sun and cold for the first time outdoors.

Tips and recipes

  • You can use the flowers for juice, with a very special taste. Boil 3 liters of water with 4 liters of sugar and beat the boiling layer over 80-100 freshly picked flower clusters and 4 sliced ​​lemons. Dissolve just under 100 grams of citric acid and stir. Leave to cool for 4-5 days. Strain, pour into bottles and store cold or in the freezer.

Candy the remaining lemon pieces in a little juice, eat and enjoy.

Bake plates according to your usual recipe, but on a slightly cooler iron. Put a small bunch of flowers in each plate with the stem facing up. Let the children hold the shaft and eat the platters that way.

  • Scrape off some flowers and mix them among the gooseberries, when cooking jam.

  • 5. Green Kremlin - insidious fly agaric

    The mushroom green cream is common and is found all over the country, but it can be whiter than green, so the name is a bit misleading. This is also why it can be mistaken for insidious fly agaric. Therefore, one must be very safe to pick it.

    Insidious fly agaric contains the poison amatoxin and is the fungus that has caused the most deaths on the continent, here it grows in southern and central Sweden. The biggest differences are that the green cream has neither a ring nor a sock. The texture of the green cream is very brittle and crumbles easily while the insidious fly agaric can be scratched into threads.

    Real or fake elderberries? - garden

    Did you know that nettles are great when you want to nourish your plants?

    ♠ Pick nettles, but avoid heavy stems.
    Sedan Then put them in a bucket and pour on water so that they cover the nettles.
    . Let them stand for three days and put a lid on. Stir at some point.
    ♠ Strain off the nettles, they can be saved if you want to repeat this for more nutrient water, the same
    nettles last for a few weeks.

    1 dl nettle water + 9 dl water once a week.
    Why buy extra nutrition at home when you can make one yourself?

    Summer edible flowers - Recipes - Housewife tips - Eat flowers - Edible plants - Edible weeds

    Now that summer is here, we thought we would suggest some edible flowers that will gild your dishes and salads. Remember not to eat things that you are not sure are edible flowers, so you do not eat anything inappropriate.

    Also, do not pick plants and flowers that live by the roadside as they are full of exhaust fumes and dirt.

    Here is a list of some of the edible flowers and weeds available. Google on the name to get pictures of what they look like if you are unsure.

    Flower cress

    Chives flowers
    Bitter vetch

    Cherry bowl

    Red clover
    Red Oxalis

    Squash flowers
    Pig meal

    Zucchini and Pumpkin Flower

    Recipe: This summer's favorite on the grill! Grill - Lemon - Summer

    A clearly unexpected favorite here at home has become grilling lemon halves on the grill. It fits everything and is super tasty. When you grill it, it becomes sweeter in taste but still retains its acidity. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so that it is not too sour when it is to be eaten. Of course, choose organic lemons).

    Feel free to try and share with you here, what you thought of it.

    The marinade that suits all types of meat can be found here: Marinade

    True elder - false elder - how do you see the difference? Real or fake shelf?

    Unfortunately, I was a little early to take the cards on the different elder bushes before they started to bloom, but I think you can see the difference anyway!

    The false elder, on the other hand, is shaped like a bunch of grapes. It is called grape elder and has weakly poisonous berries.

    Checklist: Baby, Pack BB bag, Baby's first wardrobe, Stroller, Nappy bag

    One of us here at Egenlya is now expecting her first child and what could be more appropriate than with a checklist? both for myself and others in the same situation. Did I forget to bring something or are you sitting on some great tips? Feel free to leave a comment or email us and we will add it to the blog :)

    Avoid fleece fabrics for the little ones as it is a fabric made from returned plastics and it does not breathe.
    Good to buy before the baby arrives:
    Feel free to read 1177's care guide against sudden infant death syndrome. It is not so common in Sweden but it can be worrying anyway.

    [] Cradle or cot (if you only choose a cot, I also recommend a baby nest so that it becomes crowded and cuddly the first time)
    [] Crib cover
    [] Mattress
    [] Quilt
    [] Pillow (Flat and soft)
    [] Duvet covers (Perfect to reuse your old worn duvet covers, then they will be soft and comfortable). But then you also need a sewing machine to be able to reduce them. Likewise with the bed sheet.
    [] Bed sheets (Perfect to reuse your old worn bed sheets, then they will be soft and comfortable)
    [] A hanging mobile phone to hang over the bed
    [] Cotton felt

    [] Changing table (Should it be on the floor or are you short of space, maybe you should choose a wall mount instead.)

    [] Baby protection (car seat for the very youngest, easiest is if you buy one with a base that you put the baby protection in, it is easy to click in and click out of the baby protection so you do not have to wake the little baby if it is asleep.)

    [] Bath tub, if you do not have a bathtub (One with a stand is preferable if you do not have a good place to put it.)

    [] Travel bag, to use in the trolley when it is cold outside.

    [] Bath thermometer (water should be at 37-38C)

    Baby's first wardrobe (basic garment):
    The number depends on how often you can wash, and whether you have your own washing machine or parts and more.

    Another tip is to buy used. Trade, the block and various sales pages on Facebook are flooded with cheap children's clothes :)

    BB bag:
    Packed well in advance, you never know when the baby will choose to look out.

    [] Baby protection - Do not forget this whatever you do! If you travel by taxi or car, you must bring your baby protection if you are to be able to take home from BB.

    To mom and dad:
    [] Pre-cooked food in the freezer, as you probably do not want or can not cook a lot of food the first week.

    Things that can be acquired a little later:
    [] Baby thermometer

    Gluten-free nut cake with mocha cream that is perfect for coffee!

    This cake is super fresh and very satisfying for the taste buds. The crème fraîche mixture as a topping may sound strange, but it goes so wonderfully well with the rest of the cake and gives it a further lift!

    Oven 175 ° C
    50 g butter (melt and let cool)
    1.5 dl ground hazelnuts (grind them easily in a household assistant)
    1 egg
    0.75 dl coconut sugar (can be replaced with any sugar)
    1 dl cornmeal
    0.5 teaspoon baking powder
    3 cream vanilla powder
    1 DL of milk

    Remember that you are most successful with baking if the ingredients are at room temperature. So submit them on time! :)
    Grease a mold and "toast" it with any gluten-free, I used cocoa.
    Grind the hazelnuts in a grinder or kitchen assistant. Whisk the egg together with the sugar so that it becomes puffy. Carefully add the vanilla powder, hazelnuts (ground), melted butter and milk and mix thoroughly. Mix baking powder and flour in a separate bowl and add the flour mixture to the rest of the batter and mix thoroughly. Pour the batter into the mold and bake in the lower part of the oven for about 30 minutes. Let cool.

    Mocha cream
    150 g room temperature butter
    1 dl icing sugar
    3 cream vanilla powder
    2 egg yolks
    2 tablespoons coffee (strong and cold)

    Mix the butter with icing sugar and the vanilla powder. Then stir in one egg yolk at a time and finally the coffee. Then whip the buttercream fluffy using an electric whisk. It may look like the buttercream cuts at first, but it goes well together after a while with the electric whisk!
    Divide the cake base into two parts (with a bread knife, for example).
    Spread the buttercream on the bottom and put on the lid.

    2 dl fresh cream
    1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
    1 dl roasted hazelnuts / coarsely chopped
    (Roast the nuts in a dry Teflon pan for a few minutes, or oven at 175 ° C for about 10 minutes. Then rub / rub them in a towel to remove most of the skin.)

    Mix crème fraîche with vanilla sugar and spread over the cake. Then sprinkle over the coarsely chopped hazelnuts.
    Set cool before serving or serve immediately!

    For lactose-free cake: Replace butter, milk and crème fraîche with lactose-free alternatives.

    Video: How To Identify Elderberries