Hung up to dry
Elderberries cannot be eaten raw, as they contain a small amount of a poisonous alkaloid that can make people sick. Drying them gets rid of this, as well as concentrating their unique flavour. The clusters of berries are left until they have turned upside down and their fruit is ripe and purple before picking. Dirt and debris is washed off the clusters, before they are hung in a cool, dark place until they are dry. They are suspended with the berries hanging down. Placing a paper bag with air holes punched in it over the clusters will catch any berries that fall. The top of the bag can be secured with string. Once dry, the berries can be made into an infusion or a tea to relieve cold and flu symptoms. Stored in the refrigerator, dried elderberries can last up to six months.