Formula 1 Cups to Pounds
Elderberries are sold by the pound, and recipes are written in cups. It is nice to know how to convert these cups to pounds. So just how many cups of dried elderberries to a pound and how can you remember this? How old the berries are will affect this, drier is lighter. Let's assume, however, that you have recently purchased dried berries, and they haven't been sitting in your cabinet for over a year. In that case.... There are about 4 cups of dried elderberry to 1 pound. Cute memory trick..... Four to one, if they have been in the sun. Remember this is for cups to pounds of dried elderberries, so add an invented word to the beginning of that phrase. Cupound....kinda like the KaPow of comic strips. So Cupound! 4 to 1, if they have been in the sun. The 'sun' in this phrase means dried. If you can stick this in your memory you will always remember how many cups of dried elderberry are in a pound. Stem-free dark premium dried organic elderberries here.
Formula 2 - Dried Elderberries to Fresh
Occasionally you find a recipe but it calls for dried berries and you have fresh, or it calls for fresh and you have dried. Interchange fresh and dry by knowing that the weight of 1/3 cup of dried elderberries is equal to the weight of 1 cup of fresh. Meaning 2/3 of a cup of water evaporates during dehydration and needs to go back in. However, you must take into consideration that you will be heating the dried berries and some of the water you add will be coming off in steam so add a bit extra water with that in mind. Memory trick to make it stick. Fresh to Dry is two thirds shy.
Formulas ~ Cooking Elderberry
Now let's get to recipe formulas for elderberry syrups. These formulas will give you the ability to stand at the stove without a cookbook, without a recipe card, without your phone or tablet opened to a recipe on the internet. Any recipe is about proportions and a good elderberry syrup recipe is no different. As long as you know the proportions you are gold. It doesn't matter how many berries you start with, how many you picked in the field that day, or how many you have on hand. Make syrup with ANY amount, with no waste, and very little math. The important part of these two syrup formulas is how much juice you get from those elderberries.
Formula 3 - Honey Syrup
This formula is adjustable and depends a little bit on your taste. For a honey syrup recipe, honey is typically 1/4 to 1/3 the amount of berry juice. So for every 1 cup of juice, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of honey. Honey is a natural preservative, however when it is thinned out with berry juice, it can only do so much to protect it from spoiling. Make this syrup in small batches and plan on using it up rather quickly as it does not keep well unless you are planning on adding other preservatives.
Memory Trick to make it Stick ~ I love you honey and so on and so forth.
Explanation = I love you honey (the ingredient) and so on (1/3 cup) and so forth. (1/4 cup)
Formula 4 - Sugar Syrup
My all time favorite elderberry syrup is made with sugar and lemon juice! With the healthy 'no sugar' craze this recipe doesn't get the respect it deserves. It has consistently produced a finished syrup with a 3.6 to 3.8 ph value using my fresh Bob Gordon elderberries. Canning experts state that under 4.5 is desired and it is well under that. It is in my opinion this a MUCH better tasting syrup. Sugar not only sweetens the slightly bitter berries but continues to be, hands down one of the best known canning preservatives and a flavor enhancer. Foods canned with sugar have a much longer shelf life than those with no sugar or sugar substitutes. Lemon juice is important for the acidity of your finished product and also helps to bring out the berry flavor!
For every cup of juice you get add half that amount of sugar.
So 1 cup of juice=1/2 cup of sugar.
For every cup of juice, also add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
The sugar cannot be adjusted downward, it is not only added to sweeten the syrup but to help preserve and help retain color. The proportion should be at least this much to work properly. No sugar substitutes, no saving calories by adding less. The lemon juice in the correct amount is important as it adds acidity which also helps to preserve. Messing with these amounts will mess with your ph value and thus, shelf life. The syrup will keep for many months unsealed in the refrigerator and for about a year if sealed by canning. Pints or Quarts, hot water bath 5 minutes @ 1000 feet.
Memory trick to make it stick. Half two make syrup!
Explanation ~ Half (cup) for the sugar, two(teaspoons) for the lemon.
Copy the memory tricks to memorize them or sign up for my Elderberry Edge Farm Newsleter and I will drop a pdf of them in your inbox. Study it, put them in your head and start cooking like Grandma!