“We kids loved the idea of eating anything stolen, especially with lots of butter.” -Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
When Elsie moved, she showed me a bag of elderberries she had stored in the freezer & asked if I would be able to use them. I said yes, not really thinking about it, and then after some thinking, proceeded to make them into blueberry-elderberry bars. Elderberries don’t have a lot of flavor but they DO have tons of vitamin C and anthocyanins, as well as phenolic compounds. All sorts of good stuff for your body. I finally asked her where she’d gotten them, expecting that they were perhaps leftover from a wine-making kit or something. “I just picked them as I was walking around,” she said. Hmmm…
I did a little research and found out elderberries start showing up in August in northern Colorado. Then I kept my eyes peeled. I’m not the best at plant identification, but Elsie and I take roughly the same bike route a lot of the time, so I figured I might find some elderberries if I kept my eyes peeled.
And today…jackpot! Not only a massive bush brimming with ripe elderberries but a really cool katydid to boot! It was like the elderberry gatekeeper. I tried to keep a respectful distance as I stripped branch after branch of the berries.
I got some strange looks by passers-by on the bike path. I explained to a few that I was picking elderberries, and got still more quizzical looks. Sigh. It’s free fruit!! Like Kingsolver, I loved the idea of anything stolen. No butter necessary for these babies though.
I’ll likely go pick more later…the idea of leaving so much abundance to waste is terrible to me, and I am already dreaming of the berry bars I’ll be whipping up here soon.
I’m so grateful that the life I lead allows me the opportunity to stop for some trailside berry-picking. Life is really pretty good.