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Yield: 7 to 9 pint jars
For more information about elderberries, see Elderberries.
This example shows you how to make elderberry juice!
It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality ones!
I prefer to grow my own; which is really easy - but that does take some space and time.
If you want to pick your own, here is a list and links to the pick your own farms.
An average of 25 pounds of fruit is typically needed per canner load of 7 quarts of fruit juice. Of course, this varies! Or to make 9 pints of juice, you'll need an average of 16 pounds of fruit. If you are buying in bulk, a "lug" weighs 26 pounds and yields 7 to 9 quarts of juice; which is an average of 3-1/2 pounds of fruit needed per quart of juice.
Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.
NOTE: If a canning recipe calls for 10 minutes or more of process time in the canner, then the jars do not need to be "sanitized" before filling them. But really, sanitizing them first is just good hygeine and common sense! See this page for more detail about cleaning and sanitizing jars and lids.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 10 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.
Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot juice.
I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in a large bowl under running plain cold water. The only tedious part is removing the berries from the stems!
Remove the fruit from the stems and pick out any stems and leaves that became mixed in!
Put the berries in a pot and add enough water to just cover the fruit. Put the crushed fruit in a big pot on the stove over medium to high heat (stir often enough to prevent burning) for until it starts to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. We just want to soften the skins to help release the juice and break down some of the fruit to help it pass through our juice strainer.
While the berries are heating is a good time to make the syrup. Elderberries are too sour for most people to drink the juice without a sweetener. Depending upon which type of sweetener you want to use (sugar, no-sugar, Stevia (but you will have to experiment with amount, each brand of Stevia is a different concentration), or Splenda, or a mix of sugar and Stevia (or Splenda) or fruit juice) you will need to use a different syrup from below. Adding syrup to canned fruit helps to retain its flavor, color, and shape. It does not prevent spoilage of these foods. Heat the syrup to near boiling in a pot.
Most people prefer the medium syrup (highlighted) or elderberry juice with
Sugar syrup proportions for 7 to 9-pint jars of elderberries (double it for 9 quart jars)
Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you'll need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer it
|2||no calorie sweetener||7||0||0||1/4 cup|
|3||Fruit juice (white grape or peach juice works well)||0||7||0|
|4||Reduce calorie / fruit juice||4||3||0|
|5||Fruit juice and Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you'll need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer,||0||7||0||1/2 cup|
|6||very low calorie||7||0||1/4||1/4 cup|
|7||very light (10% sugar)||7||0||1||0|
|8||light (20% sugar)||6||0||2||0|
|9||medium (30% sugar)||6||0||3||0|
You can either put the soft cooked fruit through a juice strainer (about $9.00, see ordering at right) which results in the most clear juice and is easiest to use, or pour them through cheesecloth in a colander. Or if you don't mind chunky juice, just let the juice stand for 20 minutes, and decant (pour off) the clear liquid to use and leave the seeds and solids behind.
Discard the dry pulp. The yield of the juice should be about 41/2 to 5 cups.
You may also want to run the crushed cooked fruit through a Foley food mill (about $20 - see this page) BEFORE the juice strainer - unless you ran the fruit through a juicer, the food mill would help to extract more juice and separate the seeds, stems and skins that will clog the strainer. It's not necessary, but helps you get the most out of the fruit.
If you need a stopping point and want to finish up the next day, this is a good place. Sometimes, fruit juice gets crystals, called tartrate crystals, forming in the juice. They're not harmful and don't affect the taste, but some people don't like the appearance. I rarely even see them! But if you do, let juice stand in a in the fridge overnight, then strain through two thicknesses of damp cheesecloth to remove any crystals that have formed.
There is also a VERY nice, versatile strainer pictured at far right! Click on the links there or see the bottom of this page for more information and to order! The VillaWare model can handle higher volumes than a Foley food mill (without giving you cramps!)
To see a greater variety of strainers in other types, sizes, and prices, click here!
If you read the USDA's guide, they have additional steps to polish the juice so it is crystal clear. I don't bother with these as it adds a day or two to the process and most people like the natural look, anyway!
But if you do want the polished look, here what to do:
If you didn't do so already, put the lids into a pan of hot water for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean the lids.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
I find that homemade elderberry juice, made using sweet fresh fruit, rarely needs any additional sweetness. However if you have a sweet tooth or are using very tart fruit, this is the time to add your sweetener (sugar, Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you'll need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, , honey, etc.).
Bring the juice to a boil.
Fill them to within 1/4-inch of the top, wipe any spilled juice off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Then put the filled jars into the canner!
This is where the jar tongs come in really handy!
See the table below for the length of time to process the jars recommended for your altitude and size of jars used.
Recommended process time for Fruit Juice in a boiling-water canner.
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Jar Size||0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
|Pints or Quart jars
||10 minutes||15 minutes|
|Half-Gallon jars||10min||15 minutes||20 minutes|
Lift the jars out of the water with your jar lifter tongs and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last up to 12 months if kept in a cool dark place, like a basement..
From left to right:
You can get all of the tools in a kit here:
Home Canning Kits
See the seller's website for more information, features, pricing and user reviews!
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to juices and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars and lids (and the jars are reusable). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Canning & Preserving for Dummies
The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes Paperback
This is THE book on canning! My grandmother used this book when I was a child. It tells you in simple instructions how to can almost anything; complete with recipes for juice, jellies, pickles, sauces, canning vegetables, meats, etc. If it can be canned, this book likely tells you how! Click on the link below for more information and / or to buy (no obligation to buy)
Summary - Typical Cost of Making Homemade Elderberry Juice - makes 6 jars, 16 oz (pint) each**
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2021||Source||Subtotal|
|Fruit||4 lbs||$2.00/lb||Pick your own||$8.00|
|Canning jars (pint size), includes lids and rings||12 jars||$8.50/dozen||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$8.50|
|Sugar||4 cups||$3.00||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$3.00|
or about $3.25 per jar
** - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars and reduce the cost further; just buy new lids (the rings are reusable, but the flat lids are not)!
[ Easy Home Canning Directions] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]
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