Skip to Content

How To Dry Elderberries: 3 Practical Methods

Elderberries are small, dark purple berries that grow on Elderberry bushes. They have a sweet and slightly tart taste and are used in jams, jellies, pies, and wines.

Elderberry juice is also used to make elderberry syrup, a natural remedy for the flu and colds. Put effort into learning how to dry elderberries and preserve them long-term if you’ve taken the time to gather fresh elderberries. This will ensure that the product remains fresh throughout the season.

Herbal medicines are becoming increasingly popular in recent years as they are considered safer than conventional pharmaceuticals. Given their healthy lifestyles, many people eschew chemical-based substances.

As a result, therapeutic herbs are becoming increasingly sought after and valued. Elderberry is one of these herbs, and it is supposed to help cure and heal a variety of ailments.

Drying elderberries is a great way to preserve them for later use. Elderberries can be preserved using a variety of methods. However, one of the more effective methods is to dry elderberries.

When you dry elderberries, you have many options for how you can use them. Therefore, learning how to dry elderberries is quite beneficial. Drying elderberries preserve their nutrients and flavor.

Dried elderberries can also be stored for long periods, making them a great choice for those who want access to this nutrient-rich fruit all year round. Dried elderberries can be used in recipes or brewed into tea.

How To Dry Elderberries
Dry Elderberries – via Wikimedia

A Guide on How To Dry Elderberries

Drying elderberries is a great way to preserve their flavor and nutritional value. There are several ways to dry elderberries. You can dry them in the sun, in a dehydrator, in the oven, or a microwave. Here is a simple guide on how to dry Elderberries.

Using A Dehydrator / Oven / Microwave

  • First, pick the berries when they are fully ripe. While they turn deep purple to black, they’re ripe; when they’re green and pale purple, they’re unripe. Discard any that are damaged or moldy.
  • Put them in a clean container when they’re ready to dry. Remember to take out all of the extras, such as the leaves and blossoms. To avoid spoiling, make careful to do this as carefully as possible.
  • Rinse each fruit gently. After that, drain the excess water with paper towels or a sieve and pat them dry.
  • Spread the berries out in a single layer on a baking sheet or dehydrator tray.
  • If using a dehydrator, set the temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit and dry the berries for 12-16 hours.
  • If using an oven, set the temperature to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the berries for 2-3 hours.
  • If using a microwave, set the power to high and microwave the berries for 2-3 minutes.
  • The fresh elderberry will be cooked if the temperature is higher than 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Move the baking sheet every few hours to ensure even drying. Turn the elderberries with a spatula.
  • When the elderberries are solid to the touch, they are dried. Elderberries that have been completely dried will keep for a long time.
  • Once the berries are dried, store them in an airtight container.

Oven drying isn’t the most efficient method, but it’s perfect for individuals who don’t have access to a dehydrator. Oven drying elderberries takes around 12 hours to complete; thus, the oven will be turned off during that period.

Freeze Drying Method

A freeze dryer for the home is a fantastic gadget to have. This technique keeps 97 percent of the nutrients in herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Flowers, roots, plants, and berries used for medical purposes can last up to ten years if properly stored.

The fresh elderberries will have a brittle texture once the freeze-drying process is completed. Add the proper quantity of elderberries into the water and continue to cook as usual.

  • Remove the elderberries from the stalks after washing and drying them.
  • Put the elderberries on the stainless steel trays of the freeze dryer.
  • Initiate the freezing and drying process.
  • After the elderberries have been properly dried, store them in suitable containers.
How To Dry Elderberries 2
Elderberry Harvest – via Flickr

Drying Elderberries in the Sun

If you have access to a sunny spot, you can dry elderberries in the sun. This is a simple process that doesn’t require any special equipment. Elderberries can be preserved using the traditional way of sun drying. Sunnier, lower-humidity regions are ideal for sun-drying elderberries.

The amount of available sunlight and temperature will determine how long it will take to sun-dry elderberries. Ensure the drying place is out of the way of dust and grime while receiving direct sunlight.

Plan the procedure takes 3-4 days to complete, and choose days when the weather would be sunny for 4 to 5 days in a row.

  • Pluck the elderberries from the stalks after washing and drying them.
  • Clean elderberries should be placed on a drying screen in a single layer, not piled up on top of each other.
  • When the elderberries are solid to the touch, they are dried. Elderberries that have been completely dried will keep for a long time.

The optimum time to sun-dry elderberries is during the summer. Pinching the berries to see whether they’re still moist is a good approach to see if they’re dry enough.

If they’re still soft and damp, let them stay for a while longer to dry out. When they’ve been dried properly, they’ll resemble raisins.

How to Store Dried Elderberries

Dried elderberries must be stored properly since they can degrade quickly like other herbal remedies. However, if done correctly, dried elderberries can provide numerous health benefits.

Dried elderberries will last for a long time if they are stored properly. After the berries have been dried, allow them to cool, and store them in an airtight container.

Place the jar or container somewhere cool, like your cabinet or kitchen drawers. Maintain their freshness by keeping them away from light.


Final Remarks

Elderberries are a healthy and delicious fruit used in many different recipes. You can also freeze the elderberries for later use. If you choose to can them, make sure you use a pressure canner.

The high acid content in the berries prevents the growth of harmful bacteria. By drying the berries, you can store them for a long time and use them whenever you want. Drying is one of the easiest ways to preserve elderberries, and many different methods can be used.

Oven drying is the most common way to dry elderberries, and it’s a simple process that doesn’t require any special equipment.

Freezing is another option, and it’s a great way to preserve the nutrients in the berries. Sun-drying is the oldest method, and it’s a great way to dry elderberries if you have access to a sunny spot.

The dehydrator is the quickest of the three drying processes, so if you intend on drying and preserving elderberries or other plants frequently, invest in a nice dehydrator.

No matter which drying method you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy the delicious taste of elderberries for a long time. So go ahead and give one of these methods a try! You won’t be disappointed.

Now that you know how to dry elderberries, the sky’s the limit! You can use them in various recipes or store them later. Dried elderberries are perfect for adding to breakfast cereals, loaves of bread, muffins, and pancakes.

You can also use them in smoothies, yogurt bowls, and salad dressings. The possibilities are endless! Enjoy your dried elderberries!