A plant of our hedgerows and abandoned fields that are being reconquered by the forest, the elder favors the sides of ditches and embankments – especially those with a bit of shade. Oh, it grows well enough in full sun, but it seems to appreciate the extra moisture that accumulates in ditches.
Elder is a plant of the edge – maybe a plant ON the edge – making do with full sun or part shade – unable to decide whether it wants to really be in the meadow. Because of its widespread natural habitat, Sambucus (the botanical name for the genus) plays a role in many folklores: Scandinavians, Mediterraneans, North American Indians all had legends of the Elder … giving rises to conflicting stories of goodness and evil, stories that bellies its sun/shade qualities. At the edge, neither sun nor shade, neither evil nor saintly.
Even its name – both the common and the botanical name in fact – harks back to old times. Read more
I don’t like to throw out (I mean compost) food – even things that other people may not see as still edible.
I went wild berry picking earlier in the week (that’ll make a post fo another day) and decided to make a sorbet with some of the wild blackberries I picked. (By the way, if you ever wonder why berries seem so expensive, go pick some, and you’ll get a much better understanding of that price…)
The wild blackberries have a lot of seeds, so I strain the puree before mixing it with my syrup. But although I tried to squeeze as much pulp as I could (getting purple hands and a new color pattern on my apron in the process) there was still too much pulp left for me to throw those seeds in the compost without a vague guilt feeling.
I had lemons left. We had Spirited Lemonade over the week-end as well as marinated lemon chicken. Sooo… How about blackberry lemonade?
I put water in a bowl, drop the whole seed mass in there, swish them around, strained again, and voila! blackberry wash! Then I squeezed a few lemons, use the blackberry wash instead of water, sugar to taste (not too much: maybe 2 tablespoon for the quart I was making, as I prefer my lemonade tart), and we had a beautifully ruby-colored lemonade, tasting of both lemon and wild blackberries.
Locavore log: blackberries from the hedgerow