The flowers of the elder are used to brew elder flower ‘champagne’ and flavour desserts while the berries are the nutritional equal of grapes. The European variety is a multi stemmed shrub tree with deep green compound leaves. The large lacy inflorescence’s bear tiny creamy white fragrant flowers. The leaves, bark, green berries and roots are poisonous if consumed.
These cold hardy plants prefer a moist but well drained humus rich soil and full sun to partial shade. Harvest the berries when they are black. Pick flowers early on a dewless morning, spread the heads on clean kitchen paper and leave in a warm, dark, dry place for several days.
Use the fresh flowers to make elder flower wine or cordial or a herbal infusion. Freeze the berries if you want to but you must cook them first before using them in baked goods. Elder flowers are high in Vitamins A and C.
information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs