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The Elderberry Experience


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#16 BobF

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:39 AM

Bob, 54 pounds juiced by steam? That will give you enough juice for 5 gallons of the most excellent wine, if you dilute it to 18 gallons its going to be to dilute. Another way to get them juiced that we are probably going to do again this weekend is to crush the berries, add some KMeta and Pectinase, leave overnight and then press or squeeze the berries in nylon bags. We diluted 2 gallons of that juice for 5 gallons of wine and it is turning out to be pretty good. This year we got a rediculous amount of berries so we might be brave and go 100% squeezed juice. Crackedcork




Maybe I'll juice half and ferment on the other half to thicken it up. I fermented 3# berries per gallon last year and it is VERY heavily bodied. IIRC, I left the berries in for 3 or 4 days.

#17 sbl

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 10:43 AM

OK--I got a little over a gallon of berries. I tried the float method to clean the berries, but it seemed like 3/4 of the berries were floating. Obviously, that means I was picking berries a little early. There weren't that many "green" berries in what floated, a lot were red and hard, but there was also a lot that were dark and looked ripe.

Do I really need to exclude all of the berries that floated, or can I just pick out all the red and green berries?
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#18 sbl

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 10:59 AM

Just a bump on my question--How important is it to remove the "red" elderberries before making wine?
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#19 Medsen Fey

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 12:24 PM

I would get rid of the red berries. The unripe berries have a higher concentration of Sambunigrin in them. Even if you are boiling or steaming them, I think I'd get rid if the red ones.
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#20 DrunkSkunk

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 01:44 PM

YOu know I lost a lot of BLACK elderberries when doing the wash method. The main problem is that I think the hose cannot be on very much and works better just below the surface of the water. The berries are light and even ripe ones will get stirred up if the hose is at the bottom of the bucket. I reclaimed berries and tried it again with much more success.

#21 PEL

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 02:42 PM

YOu know I lost a lot of BLACK elderberries when doing the wash method. The main problem is that I think the hose cannot be on very much and works better just below the surface of the water. The berries are light and even ripe ones will get stirred up if the hose is at the bottom of the bucket. I reclaimed berries and tried it again with much more success.

I did not use a hose. I just covered the berries with several inches of water over the top of the berries and very gently with my hand stirred the berries on the bottom. It worked for me.

#22 TwinMaples

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 03:21 PM

...The main problem is that I think the hose cannot be on very much...

I used a hose, and it did stir up all the berries. I think that the hose helped to free up the stems and green berries trapped on the bottom. I would take the hose out with the water a few inches from the top, let the berries settle a bit, and the ripe ones went to the bottom, and the others were still floating. I skimmed out the excess with a small handheld strainer. I would stir the berries with my hand, more "stuff" would float to the surface. Used the strainer again. Did that a few times, then filled the bucket to overflowing.

That was my workflow, and it worked for me.

Jim

#23 dennydoodle

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 05:20 PM

I used a hose, and it did stir up all the berries. I think that the hose helped to free up the stems and green berries trapped on the bottom. I would take the hose out with the water a few inches from the top, let the berries settle a bit, and the ripe ones went to the bottom, and the others were still floating. I skimmed out the excess with a small handheld strainer. I would stir the berries with my hand, more "stuff" would float to the surface. Used the strainer again. Did that a few times, then filled the bucket to overflowing.

That was my workflow, and it worked for me.

Jim

hat sounds like a great method.I picked about 20# of ripe ones and just did the by hand thing every evening with my wife. The ripe ones come off pretty easy when they are chilled in the frig.
The plan is to take the 20# plus a large can of vintners harvest elderberry and make a 6 gal batch.
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#24 WVMountaineerJack

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 06:31 PM

Jim, that is what works for us, stir, settle, skim, stir some more, settle, skim and drain. It gets better each time we do it. PEL, you need a bigger bucket and more bushes. Crackedcork

I used a hose, and it did stir up all the berries. I think that the hose helped to free up the stems and green berries trapped on the bottom. I would take the hose out with the water a few inches from the top, let the berries settle a bit, and the ripe ones went to the bottom, and the others were still floating. I skimmed out the excess with a small handheld strainer. I would stir the berries with my hand, more "stuff" would float to the surface. Used the strainer again. Did that a few times, then filled the bucket to overflowing.

That was my workflow, and it worked for me.

Jim



#25 atenkley

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 08:19 PM

My first wine ever was an elderberry last year. Thanks to all the information I gleaned from this site and CrackedCorn's website, it was a success, still one of my favorites and getting better. I've picked about 35 lbs of wild berries this year, safely in the freezer waiting for capacity.... as its muscadine season too! - Arlan

#26 TwinMaples

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 04:21 AM

A few days ago, our new Mehu-Liisa steamer juicer arrived. Last night, we decided to make some elderberry syrup. Kathy would use it in a cheesecake she was making, and have extra to pour over individual slices. Took the juicer out of the box, filled it with water, fired it up, added 3 1/2 lbs. of frozen elderberries, and 1/4 lb. of fresh-picked elderberries, and we were making elderberry juice. Next time, we'll thaw the berries first, but it worked with frozen berries. It smelled so good, and was easy to use. The 3 3/4 lbs. of elders gave us 7 cups of juice. Then, we took 4 cups of the juice and made elderberry syrup. Yum!

If I can pick enough elders in the wild a week or two from now, I'll start some elderberry wine with steam-extracted elderbery juice.

Thanks to all who gave feedback on the use of a steamer juicer. smileytoast.gif

Jim


#27 sbl

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 05:49 PM

I picked another 5 gal bucket of heads, and the last place I found, they were all very ripe. I used a patio table with a expanded metal mesh top to pick the berries--it worked well. But when I tried the float method in a 5 gal bucket--I still got a lot of black berries in what floated--I would say that half of what floated was black. All of the berries that sank were solid black, but that is also where all the little pieces of stems were.
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Bottled: Blueberry, Choc. Raspberry Port, Stags Leap Cab, Elderberry, Fig, Coastal Red, Bergamais, Merlot, Barolo, Lodi Ranch 11, Napa River Ranch Cab.

#28 WVMountaineerJack

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 06:23 PM

Your goal is to separate the ripe berries from the unripe ones. Its not perfect. If you squeeze some of those black berries that floated some might not have juice in the. The question is wether you want to make a great wine by trying to get the best berries you can or do you want to make an ok wine that is drinkable? I know some of the wilderness pickers ahve to work hard for a few pounds of fruit, so mabye you have enough for 3 gallons instead of 5 like you wanted, it would be better to make the 3 gallon batchof good wine than adding a bunch of junk berries to stretch it out to 5 gal. Whatevever you make is going to be able to be enjooyed by someone ,,,, even if you have to loook far and wide :):) Whenwe sstaarted to get rid of as many unripe redish berries from our wines they just started to get better and better. THere are a few in there still right now but less 1or2 percent. Crackedcork

I picked another 5 gal bucket of heads, and the last place I found, they were all very ripe. I used a patio table with a expanded metal mesh top to pick the berries--it worked well. But when I tried the float method in a 5 gal bucket--I still got a lot of black berries in what floated--I would say that half of what floated was black. All of the berries that sank were solid black, but that is also where all the little pieces of stems were.



#29 sbl

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 02:22 PM

Thanks--I guess I will just have to find a few more places to get some really ripe berries.

One more question--if you have heads of all black berries, would you still put them thru the float treatment.
Bulk aging/clarifying; Merlot, Chocolate Raspberry Port.
Bottled: Blueberry, Choc. Raspberry Port, Stags Leap Cab, Elderberry, Fig, Coastal Red, Bergamais, Merlot, Barolo, Lodi Ranch 11, Napa River Ranch Cab.

#30 WVMountaineerJack

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 02:29 PM

Absolutely. Plus, the cold water cools the fruit off quickly, another plus for keeping the quality up. I cant talk about wild ones as we have not picked any of those, just cultivated ones. Crackedcork

Thanks--I guess I will just have to find a few more places to get some really ripe berries.

One more question--if you have heads of all black berries, would you still put them thru the float treatment.






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