Handle and store fresh elderberries the same as fresh raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries.
Refrigerate and use berries within a few days after harvest for best quality. For longer storage, freeze or dry the berries.
Freezing elderberries is easy. Put fresh berries in a heavy-duty plastic bag or freezer-safe container. Press excess air out of the bag, seal, and pop in the freezer.
For best flavor and aroma, use frozen berries within about 1 year after harvest.
Store dried elderberries in an air-tight container away from light and heat. For best flavor and aroma, use the berries within 2 years after harvest.
Reconstitute dried berries before adding them to muffins, quick breads, pancakes, and similar recipes where fresh berries are normally used.
To reconstitute, soak the berries in an equal volume of warm water for about 30 minutes or until the berries are tender and plump. Include any extra soaking liquid as part of the liquid needed for the recipe or discard it.
Ideas for use
Substitute elderberries in any recipe calling for blueberries or raspberries.
Use your favorite apple pie recipe. Gently mix about 1 cup (6 oz) fresh or frozen elderberries into the sliced apples for each pie. If using dried berries, reconstitute about 1/2 cup of dried berries and then use them the same as fresh or frozen berries.
To avoid turning muffin or cake batter totally purple, gently fold fresh or frozen berries into the batter right before baking.
Use frozen elderberries in pies, cakes or muffins without thawing. The frozen berries may add a few minutes to the baking time.
Weights and volumes
Substitute 1 cup of dried elderberries for every 2 cups of fresh or frozen elderberries.
3 ounces by weight of dried elderberries measures about 1 cup. This is the equivalent of about 2 cups (12 ounces by weight) of fresh berries.
6 ounces by weight of fresh or frozen elderberries is about 1 cup.
1 pound (16 ounces by weight) of frozen or fresh elderberries is about 2 1/2 cups.
1 pound (16 ounces by weight) of frozen or fresh berries will produce about 1 cup of pressed juice or about 2 cups of steam-distilled juice.