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Black Elder
Botanical Name: Sambucus nigra

Cluster of black elderberries.

Black elder is also known as common elder.

It's a deciduous bush, shrub or small tree that grows to a height of 8 meters.

It has corky grey-brown bark and green, pinnate and toothed leaves.

The leaves have a characteristic and unpleasant smell when crushed.

The small, cream-coloured flowers are arranged in flat-topped clusters.

They have a strong, aromatic and very pleasant, musky fragrance.

The ripe, globose stone-fruits - the elderberries - are black, juicy and bitter to taste.

However, they become milder and sweeter after the first frost - or after a week or so in the freezer.

Leaves, bark, flowers and fruits are used for many medicinal and culinary purposes including wine making and to flavour schnapps and liqueurs.

Black elder has been called the medicine chest of the people, and earlier there was much folklore, superstition, and witchcraft associated with this plant.

Black elderberries are very rich in antioxidants.

Here in Denmark, black elder grows wild throughout the country - in nutrient-rich soil in light woods, hedges, windbreaks, shrubs, meadows, fields and along roadsides.

WARNING! Do not confuse Black Elder or Common Elder with Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa). RED elderberries are POISONOUS.


Liqueur making based on the schnapps recipes here on my site is easy. Just add a simple sugar syrup to your schnapps and store it for a while.
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You can create your very own and unique schnapps and liqueur blends by blending different alcohol infusions.
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If for some reason you are not satisfied with your schnapps, there are ways to adjust both taste and flavours. 
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