After a power outage for two and-a-half days due to hurricane Irene, and the emergency evacuation of our freezer chest, filled almost to the top with produce from the garden, to friends who did not lose power, I had only limited energy left for lengthy food rescue operations.
The storm had knocked down several handfuls of elderberry clusters. Elderberries ripen unevenly so I usually leave them on the plant until all the berries are black, hoping I am quicker than the birds. The elderberry clusters I collected still had some green berries on them but that’s all right.
I have never made anything else than elderberry soup or jelly from elderberries. There were not enough storm berries for any of those but I know from Elderberry Soup that elderberries and apples are a good combination. So I made this easy after-the-storm elderberry sauce with apples. I had it with Greek yogurt but I can imagine it also delicious on cottage cheese, rice pudding, with waffles or pancakes.
Let’s hope we won’t have another storm like this in a long time but if we ever do, I will try the sauce with pears, which also complement elderberries very well.
Elderberry Sauce with Apples
2 Gala apples
2.5 cups stemmed and washed elderberries
1 cinnamon stick
1 strip of organic lemon peel
½ cup sugar, to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1. Peel and quarter the apples. Remove the core and cut the apples into ½-inch dice. Put them in a heavy saucepan with the elderberries, the cinnamon, lemon peel and sugar. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons water to prevent burning before the elderberries release their juice.
2. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, 15 minutes, until the apples are very tender and the berries are easily crushed with a spoon. Stir occasionally during cooking.
3. Cool slightly and remove the lemon peel and cinnamon stick. Pass through the finest plate of the food processor. Scrape the underside of the plate – a lot of the thick pulp gets stuck there.
4. Return the sauce to the pot. Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons cold water and add it to sauce. Stirring constantly, bring the sauce to the boil and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it thickens and looks no longer starchy. Taste for sugar. Let cool and refrigerate.
Makes about 1 cup