If you’re looking for a delicious and Simple Elderberry Jam recipe with seeds and no pectin they you’ve come to the right place! Follow my step-by-step video tutorial to ensure success!

Blueberry Jam in jar with teaspoon submerged, surrounded by blueberries & lemon rinds.

After a long break due to 2020 doing it’s best to stop me in my tracks I’m finally back with this Elderberry Jam recipe which has been a labour of love to say the least. But I’m so excited to be back behind an apron and for this recipe which I think is the best Elderberry Jam recipe you’ll find!

Aerial view of Elderberry Jam with teaspoon on board with scones.

What does Simple Elderberry Jam taste like?

I would say that it tastes most similar to blackcurrant cordial with a slight tartness as it’s not sharp like blackcurrant jam but has a similar texture. My son and I really liked the flavour but if you’re not a fan of seeds in jam like my hubby then you’re best off making a jelly! We didn’t find the seeds bothersome in the least and I had been worried about them as I’d never made Elderberry jam before.

Blueberry Jam in jar with teaspoon resting on top surrounded by blueberries & lemon rinds.

What are Elderberries?

Elderberries grow in clusters of dark purple/black berries on an Elderberry Tree (most commonly Sambucas nigra) and appear between August and October. Prior to this come elderflowers which sweet and fragrant.

Elderberries with stems and leaves.

Are Elderberries high in pectin?

Elderberries are low in pectin so lemon juice helps with the gel formation in this Elderberry Jam recipe.

Simple Blueberry Jam in jars surrounded by blueberries & lemon rinds.

Where can you forage for Elderberries?

They are native to Europe and America and can be foraged from hedgerows, woodland, country lanes, along rivers etc and some people are lucky enough to have an Elderberry tree in their garden. My biggest tip would be that if you see some, don’t wait a few days like I did to go back and pick them. More than likely the birds will beat you to it! Let’s just say I got very fit trawling the countryside for enough elderberries to further develop my Elderberry Jam!

Elderberry tree

What’s the best way to pick Elderberries?

Elderberry trees can grow up to 20 feet tall so I took a telescopic lopper with me when I went foraging. Any elderberry clusters at picking height are easy enough to snap at the base of their stem with your fingers or you could use secateurs. It’s also a good idea to wear old dark clothes and long sleeves to protect you from other wild shrubs. Plus take a bag with you that will stay open or a bowl or bucket would be great.

Elderberry Jam jars with blueberries and lemon halves.

How do you prepare Elderberries?

The easiest and quickest way to remove elderberries from their stems is by running a fork through them. It took me just 10 minutes to do this. If your umbrellas of elderberries are all totally ripe this is a really quick process. However, if there are unripe red or green berries you’ll want to remove these before you run a fork over the stems as they’re a devil to remove once in your bowl. You then need to rinse and drain the berries a few times and be sure to pick out any stray raw berries, stems or bits of leaf. It’s a bit of a labour of love but quite relaxing.

Using a fork to remove elderberries from a stem.

Can you eat raw Elderberries?

No, elderberries, their stems, leaves and bark contain a toxic substance which can lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Therefore, you should always cook elderberries before eating.

Elderberry Jam with teaspoon on board with scones.

What are the health benefits of Elderberries?

Elderberries have been used for their health giving properties for years are said to protect against colds and flu and decrease the length of illness. They are also high in Vitamin A as well as being a source of potassium, vitamin C, folate, calcium and iron. Elderberries are also a great source of roughage. My mother said that my grandmother would make Elderberry Syrup every year and give it to the whole family.

Blueberry Jam in jar with teaspoon submerged on a board with scones.

What can Elderberry Jam be used for?

Well apart from spreading on baked goods like scones, bread etc Elderberry Jam can be stirred into plain yogurt, rice pudding, semolina pudding used in steam puddings, sandwich cakes together or baked into them etc!

Aerial shot of Blueberry Jam in jar with teaspoon resting on top surrounded by blueberries & lemon rinds.

More recipes using foraged fruits

Here are some more recipes using foraged fruits from Fab Food 4 All and fellow food bloggers:

Easy Blackberry & Apple Jam in jar with spoon.

Easy Blackberry & Apple Jam

Blueberry Jam in jar with teaspoon submerged on a board with scones.

I’m sure you’ll love my Simple Elderberry Jam (don’t forget to check out the video) so do tag @FabFood4All on social media if you make it and don’t’ forget to leave a comment below. I love hearing from you!

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Simple Elderberry Jam in jar pinterest image.

Simple Elderberry Jam

My Simple Elderberry Jam recipe is made with just 3 ingredients and no added pectin nor jam sugar. Bursting with fruity goodness, it’s the perfect way to enjoy your foraged Elderberries!

Course Breakfast, Snack, teatime
Keyword foraging, hedgerow, no pectin
Servings 3 jars (x 200 mls)

Equipment

  • bowl

  • colander or salad spinner

  • preserving pan or large stainless steel cooking pot with lid

  • long wooden spoon

  • ladle

  • jam funnel

  • 3 x 200 ml glass jars and lids

  • Kettle

  • enamel baking tray

  • oven gloves

Ingredients

  • 500 g ripe elderberries prepared weight (see recipe for details)
  • 500 g granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 100 ml water

Optional:

  • knob of butter or coconut oil to remove scum

Instructions

  • Prepare your elderberries by removing from stems with a fork (or you can use your fingers). If you have any red or green ones it’s easier to remove by hand before you strip the stem as picking through a bowl of elderberries is not easy as they are so small. Now is the time to weigh the elderberries and I’d allow another 20 grams for the debris and red berries that you’ll end up throwing away.

  • Immerse the elderberries in water and rinse several times until the water runs clear to remove any insects or debris. Pick out any stems or unripe berries, you just want black elderberries.

  • Place the elderberries in a preserving pan or similar with 100 ml of water.

  • Crush the berries to release their juices and bring to a boil.

  • Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes with a lid on, stirring a couple of times with a wooden spoon.

  • Turn the heat down to a minimum and stir in the sugar and lemon juice and carry on stirring until sugar has completely dissolved (do not simmer). (Dragging your spoon across the pan there should be no crunching sounds).

  • Then turn the heat up high and bring to a rolling boil and time for 6 minutes once it starts, stirring frequently to prevent the jam sticking to the pan.

  • Take off the heat and test a few drops of jam on a chilled saucer and place in the fridge for a minute.

  • Then run a finger through it, it should be tacky and not run back to the void your finger has just created. My jam was ready at 8 minutes and only showed the vaguest attempt at a wrinkle (this jam is very easy to over cook so please err on the side of caution)!

  • If your jam hasn’t reached setting point then boil for another 2 minutes and repeat the test until ready.

  • Stir the jam well to remove any scum but if that doesn’t work you can add a knob of butter or coconut oil for a vegan friendly option.

  • Pot up into 3 x 200 ml sterilised jars, a ladle and jam funnel are really useful here.

  • Place lids on immediately and allow to cool.

  • Store in a cool dark place and once opened store in the fridge and eat within a few months.

  • Jam best eaten in the first year but will be shelf stable for many years.

Notes

Before you start:
Place 2 – 3 saucers/small plates in the freezer.
Sterilise jars by washing in hot soapy water (or take straight from dishwasher), fill with boiling water, empty and then place in oven for 20 minutes at 140°C where you leave them until the jam is ready. Washed lids should be sterilised with boiling water and then left to drain (if still wet place in oven once you’ve turned the heat off and run with just the fan for a few minutes).

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