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Native Elder Berries & Flowers

Now selling thermally dried and freeze dried native elderberries in limited quantities as well as bulk frozen berries and bulk frozen raw juice - all from sustainably grown berries.

Naturally more reddish, North American black elderberries taste and smell better than the imports. Most dried elderberries imported from Europe are wild collected. European research found that “...wild elderberry have the lowest quantities of these bioactive compounds…” [Point #14, Functional Ingredient page]

We do not expect to have any more dried elderflowers in 2019, though we are searching for them.

Our native elderberry cultivars  (Sambucus nigra canadensis) are  selected from the wild (including some named cultivars) and usually planted in fields following  agroforestry / permaculture land management principles. They are picked, destemmed, sanitized and frozen fresh the same day in 25 lb. four gallon food grade pails (rated 28 lb.).

[Click here to read a journal article comparing European Sambucus nigra and native North American Sambucus nigra canadensis.]

elderberry  tony-2 med hr.jpeg

Bulk Dried Elderberries - 1, 2, 5 or 10 lb. 
(Prices include USA shipping & handling)


Flat rate online orders may only be made for domestic USA delivery because they are based on postage rates for that area. Total price for exceptions will be quoted in advance and invoiced upon your approval before shipping. Please email Verlyn Sneller at 

Orders are filled in the order they are received online.  For small processors making liquid elderberry products (syrups, etc) we suggest that you try raw elderberry juice, which offers a much less processed way to make elderberry syrup. See the recipe below. 

How to Make Elderberry Syrup with dried elderberries
Martha Stewart:  
Click here to read how Martha Stewart does it.

Freeze Dried Native Elderberries - $8/oz. 
We have a limited quantities available at this time.

Freeze drying does the best job of preserving berry nutrients. It simply removes the 80% of water quickly and effectively with the least amount of nutrient degradation. Thus, it takes 5 oz./2-2.5 cups of fresh or frozen berries to make a 1 oz./1 cup pouch of freeze dried berries. 

Freeze Dried Berry Pouch

Flat rate online orders may only be made for USA delivery including Hawaii & Alaska as provided for by the USPS Priority Mail’s flat rate boxes. For larger orders of freeze dried elderberries,  please email Chris Patton, Total price will be quoted in advance and invoiced upon your approval before shipping. We have shipped to Canada in the past by mutual arrangement in advance via email. 

Making elderberry syrup or gummies? 
Try our Bulk Frozen Raw Juice!  See recipe on that page.

Berry harvest was only so-so, and many growers have their own on-farm businesses to take care of, which makes less available to sell to to others. Many more acres were planted in 2019, but it takes about 3-4 years before a field is producing well. Since we had nothing left from last year, we must be cautious about inventory: MEC has an obligation to supply its grower members first.

MEC supplies ingredients to the River Hills Harvest brand of elderberry products sold in a grow number of retail locations. Click here for more information.  Minimally processed River Hills Harvest brand sustainable elderberry foods & beverages are always made from native elderberry, Sambucus nigra canadensis, grown in the USA by American farmers and owned by American farmers. Not from concentrate, extracts, powders or imported elderberries in any form. We especially recommend their pure ElderBerry Juice as a good, nutrient dense alternative.

If your local natural foods store does not stock these products, have them contact me about our Direct Ship program that we use to reach out across the country where our regional distributors don’t supply. Chris Patton,

Bulk Frozen Raw Elderberry Juice -
2 gallon jugs 
(priced with shipping & handling)

See Sacred Blossom Farm Syrup above. Good for wine, kombucha, jellies, vinegars & brewing, too. Perfect for elderberry jelly and gummies / home winemaking or brewing. [Winemaker comment, “I need to mix it 50% with water, or it’s too thick.] See recipe for making syrup from raw frozen juice below.

Each gallon weights 8.55 lb.  Most of our inventory of raw frozen juice comes in 2 gallon increments. The jugs are not filled completely to allow room for the expansion that comes with freezing, thus a 2.5 gal. jug contains 2 gallons of frozen raw juice. For orders above two gallons, please email Chris Patton, You will be quoted with freight and invoiced in advance of shipping. You may call 612-418-4624 (9am-5pm Central Time during the workweek please) with questions. 

Raw elderberry juice is a by-product of our drying process. We recommend it for making wine, vinegars, kombucha, beer, syrups and other liquid products.  Compared to dried berries, juice is easier to use, more economical and creates an equal or superior end product. (pH 4.3 BRIX 11)

The frozen raw juice ships with extra packing but still generally arrives thawed or thawing.  Be ready to process juice as soon as it arrives.  Juice can be fermented or heated to above 180°F for at least a moment for longer shelf life. 


Sacred Blossom Farm Elderberry Syrup Recipe made with Frozen Raw Native Elderberry Juice

If you want something less processed, then you can use our sustainably grown bulk, strained raw elderberry juice that separates from thawing elderberries before drying them.  pH 4.3 BRIX 11

5 lb. dried elderberries (5 x $18>$90 = 2 gal. of raw juice (2x$45>$90)

1 Gallon Raw Elderberry Juice, 4 cups honey, 2 cups extra strong echinacea tea (optional).

Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to boil and add 1 cup of echinacea herbs.  Cover and cook on low for 8 to 24 hours.  Strain. (Optional: Use distilled water.)

Boil honey hard for 2 minutes, then add raw elderberry juice and bring it to 180°F.  Remove from heat. Add echinacea tea and honey.  Stir well. 

To preserve reheat to nearly a boil (165-175°F), then seal in jars. Set in a cold area if possible.

Are Raw Native Elderberries Safe? 

I cannot find any academic research with the appropriate laboratory research results to support the claim that native North American elderberry contains harmful levels of glycosides (pre-cyanides). I can find hearsay and popular belief for that idea but no scientific proof.

On the other hand, a multi-year project ending in 2018 by University of Missouri researchers discovered that ripe native (Sambucus canadensis) black elderberries and their seeds do not have any meaningful level of glycosides (pre-cyanides) that can make one sick. [Note: Ripe native (S. canadensis) berries often appear more reddish in color than the European (nigra) berries, which is probably due to the additional anthocyanins found in the North American condenses cultivars. Native berries are also quite a bit smaller.]

This does not seem to be true for European Sambucus nigra elderberries, which have a history of production processes to neutralize th e potential issues related to glycosides. That is why those imported ingredients are more processed and may also be part of the reason why native elderberries taste better than the European ones.

While the latest research at the university of Missouri (soon to be published) indicates that fresh/frozen, ripe elderberries do not have significant levels of glycosides, some few people seem to be strongly affected by consuming raw elderberries or elderberry juice, where it upsets their digestive system. Why they have a lower tolerance for elderberry is not clearly understood. Fresh and raw frozen berries that are fermented or heated so that the entire volume reaches 180° F, or more have not been associated with any health related incidents to our knowledge

Bulk Dried Elderflowers - 1 or 5 lb.
(quantities priced with shipping & handling)

Limited quantities currently available.

Dried Elderflowers 5-2016

Dry Elderflower production takes place on MEC (Midwest Elderberry Coop) member or affiliated farms shortly after June-July harvest.  Our elderflowers are superior to any I have ever seen commercially available.  Expertly dried in small batches, they retain their natural, angelic white color and pollen content.

How to Make Elderflower Syrup
Chef Gonzalez’s Recipe for Elderflower Syrup
:  This recipe has been provided for members and hobbyists. Anyone interested in the commercial use of this recipe should contact Chef Donald Gonzalez. You can find other recipes online. People also use the dried elderflowers to make elderflower syrup.

© Midwest Elderberry Cooperative 2018