Sambucus racemosa – Red Elderberry

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Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) is a native plant found in moist areas with partial to full sun.
Red elderberries can be identified by their opposite leaves divided into 5-7 leaflets. The red fruit ripens July-August.
Red elderberry stems, bark, leaves, and roots contain cyanide-producing toxins. Red elderberry seeds are also poisonous. Raw fruits may cause nausea. Cooked red elderberries can be made into wines, sauces, and jellies. Red elderberries are more bitter than the superior tasting black elderberries (Sambucus nigra).
Red elderberry vinegar can be made by simmering the berries in balsamic vinegar and then straining out the berries. Red elderberries can be used medicinally to treat viral infections and lower blood pressure.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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