Elderberry mead

To the Saxons and the Danes the elder tree was sacred, thought to contain a spirit or Goddess. To take a part of a tree would require gaining permission from the spirit or Goddess, lest she take revenge on the offending person.

It was thought that if you burned elder wood you would see the Devil, but if you planted elder by your house it would keep the Devil away. Elder trees were the sources of many coloured dyes; Blue and purple from the berries; yellow and green from the leaves; grey and black from the bark.

Most of the Elder tree is poisonous, containing high levels of cyanide.


1500g elderberries 

4.5l/19 cups boiling water 

1.5 kg/4.5 cups honey 

5g/1 tsp pectic enzyme 

5g/1 tsp of red wine yeast 

5g/1 tsp yeast nutrient 


Put all the berries into a large bucket and crush with a rolling pin. Add the honey, and pectic enzyme and cover with the boiling water. Stir well.

Once cool, make a note of your gravity.

Add your yeast and nutrient and cover loosely for 1 week before straining into a demijohn with an airlock.

When fermentation ends (bubbles passing through the airlock at less than one a minute) check your final gravity.

Finally, syphon the wine into bottles and cork.

Age for a minimum of 6 months before drinking, but a year is better.

Published by The Saxon forager

Wiltshire, UK based. I live with my wife & daughter, dog and chickens.

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