What is the shelf life of elderberries?

Elderberries are native to North America. They are also known as bourtree, black elder, or European elder. The fruit is often cooked fresh or dried, but it can also be processed into jams, jellies, syrups, wines, and juices.

In this article, we will talk about how long does elderberry last? How do you store them? Can they be frozen? What is the best way to preserve them?

Do not eat raw elderberries! The seeds contain a cyanide-inducing toxin, which can cause a buildup of cyanide in the body and make you ill. Cooking elderberries releases this toxin and makes them safe for consumption. Therefore they should only be eaten after being properly prepared.

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    How long does elderberry keep for?

    The shelf life of elderberries depends on which type you have. Whether they are fresh, dried, or frozen, they may only keep for a few days while others may last up to two years in your pantry.

    The storage conditions also play a huge role in determining the shelf life of elderberries.

    Fresh Elder Berries

    Fresh elderberries.
    • Refrigerator: 2 to 3 days
    • Freezer: 10 to 12 months (best quality) 

    If you buy fresh elderberries from the grocery store, then you should eat them within two to three days after purchase. If you want to extend their shelf life, then freeze them in a freezer bag. You can use them later when you need some berries.

    Wash elderberries only before eating or using them, as the extra moisture during storage will hasten their rotting. 

    To extend their shelf life, lace loose elderberries in a shallow container, cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. 

    Can you freeze fresh elderberries?

    Yes. To freeze fresh elderberries, wash them thoroughly in cold water, pat them dry with paper towels, spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, then put the sheet in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag and return them to the freezer. 

    How Long Do Elderberries Last In Freezer?

    You can expect frozen elderberries to last at least one year in your freezer. However, to use them, you must thaw them first.

    Dried elderberries

    Dried elderberries in a wooden bowl.

    Drying or buying dried elderberries is a good way to preserve them for later use. Dried berries are available in most grocery stores and health food stores, but they can be expensive. 

    How long can you keep dried elderberry?

    It is not necessary to refrigerate dried elderberries, but it’s best if you do so. They will last longer if stored in the refrigerator. 

    Dried elderberries can keep for many years if kept away from moisture and heat. However, they are slightly better if used within the first year.

    How to store elderberries

    When it comes to storing berries, the best way is in a freezer. The berries freeze solid and can be stored for up to 12 months.

    For fresh berries, Wash them well and pat them dry. Then freeze them in an airtight container.

    Dried elderberries on the other hand should be stored in a cool, dark location. Store them in a sealed plastic bag in the pantry. You can also freeze them or keep them in the refrigerator.

    However, you should make sure that you store them in an airtight moisture-proof bag. This will help ensure there is no moisture exposure so that mold doesn’t grow. Below are other tips to follow when storing dried elderberries:

    • Keep them away from light and heat.
    • Don’t leave them exposed to air.
    • Store them in a cool, dark area.
    • Keep out of reach of children.
    • Make sure you seal the bag properly.


    How do you preserve elderberry?

    The berries can be dried or frozen. It depends on how much time you want to spend preserving them. Freezing works fine for preserving elderberries. Just remember to remove them from the freezer once they thaw completely.

    You can also pickle them. Pickled elderberries have a tangy flavor and are very good with cheese. You can also make jam or jelly from your elderberries.

    Are dehydrated elderberries toxic?

    Dehydrated uncooked elderberries are not safe to eat. However, cooked dried elderberries can be eaten safely. 

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