Dried Elderberries & Oatmeal

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Cold. Does anyone like it? Perhaps it's just that first blast of a 20ºF morning. 20ºF, 20 mph Northwest winds...oh yes and I decided I would go biking. Yes that type of morning. Cold not quite the best descriptor of how popsicle-like I felt. More post John Beargrease Dog Sled Race. Space heater, leg warmers, SAAD light...oh where out thou?

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Now, now, let's not be a Negative Neville little Nettle. Yes our bodies start to ache where they hadn't since last March. Yes our metabolisms ramp back up...wait that's not right. No our metabolisms stay the same we just get more hungry and eat more. Ah yes, those lovely fat deposits we finally rid ourselves of late August rear their pant-sized increasing faces once again. And I was trying to be positive...

If not evident, salient sarcasm aside, I do NOT like being cold. Especially when it comes to digging out my "winter" one-size-up pants. (And to think I was going to thrift them!) Sigh. But I've come to accept it and gosh darn it if my body is telling me it wants more calories and subcutaneous fat layers. Body, that's what you shall get!

And what better way, mind you, then to initiate that enjoyable pound-packing process than a steaming bowl of stick to your bones oatmeal? And who eats oatmeal plain? The fun part and the calories is getting to dress it up! Some honey, a little milk, some shaved nuts...and what fruit should we use? Ah yes dried elderberries!

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Hold up. Cut the  Frank Sinatra/Harry Connick Jr-like Pottery Barn store music  I had playing to stimulate my mood for the upcoming holiday season. Dried Elderberries? Yes folks. When I was out interning at a grass-fed beef operation in western Minnesota called Moonstone, I was introduced to the magical northern super food sabmbuccus neagras commonly known as the black elderberry. My mentor Audrey was a firm proponent of drying the exquisite black orbs. For a locally prepared breakfast A would break out the wheat berries and dried elders and bedazzle our house guests  with these power packed anti flu fighters. Click HERE where my trusted herbalist Connie discusses the powerhouse of nutrients attributed to them.

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With that I leave you the recipe on drying elderberries and the oatmeal inspired recipe that ensued. Bring it on Father Winter my "winter" pants and I are ready and waiting! Okay, maybe I am not quite ready...

As always enjoy!

Dried Elderberries

WARNING: Make sure you are using the Sambucus canadensis species. There is another elderberry that is red called Sambucus racemosa that is poisonous.

Makes approximately 1 – 1/2 pint jar

  • 10-12 umbels of elderberries (umbels are the flowering portion and stems of elderberry as seen in the first photo on this post)

1.  De-stem your elderberries by removing the berries from the elderberry umbels. (Sometimes people freeze them to make this step easier.)

2. Separate the purple berries  from the unripe green berries and discard the green ones. Set the ripe dark purple berries on dehydrator racks.

3. Set your dehydrator for fruit mode at about 135ºF. Dehydrate for 12-14 hours until crunchy.

4. Remove your elders and allow them to cool.

5. Place in an airtight container for safe keeping.

Dried Elderberries in Oatmeal

WARNING: Elderberries are very nutrient rich foods. A little goes a LONG way!

  • oatmeal
  • dried elderberries (1 tablespoon should be enough)
  • water or milk
  • pinch of salt
  • optional ingredients: nuts, honey, maple syrup, spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg)

1.  Prepare your oatmeal as recommended  by the variety or brand you are using adding the elderberries into the liquid when you do the oats.  Heat to variety or manufacturers instructions.

2. When prepared   let sit for 5 minutes to rest and cool slightly.

3. Add optional ingredients and munch munch munch.