Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Elderberries in an Edible Hedge

About ten years ago we started planting an edible hedge in The Nuttery with an assortment of odd plants including elderberries, hazelnuts, damson plums, edible crab apples and medlars.  It was to be a kind of a low maintenance food forest for foraging and would also give privacy to The Caretakers Cottage from The Drip Lane.

To be honest it became a bit of a neglected area and not a lot happened there until this year we decided to give it a bit more attention.  We removed weeds, mulched it, watered it and planted fifty more hazelnuts.

The result has been remarkable.  Not only has everything tripled in size but for the first time this year we have got a huge crop of totally delicious Elderberries.  We tend not to pay much attention to elderberries in this country.  Big mistake. They are totally delicious, not unlike blackberries, but juicier, making a fantastic jam or jelly. They are filled with anthocyanins and anti-oxidants so can provide significant health benefits, although if excessive amounts are eaten raw they can cause nausea.  This winter we will add more of them into our edible hedge.

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