What Does Elderberry Taste Like?


Quick Answer: What Does Elderberry Taste Like?

Fresh, ripe elderberries can taste bitter, tangy, or tart-like. They have a hint of bittersweet even though they are faintly sweet-scented. Elderberries taste delectable because they are not sweet to a fault. Instead, they have a touch of earthy and tart-like tones. You can imagine a mix of blackberries and blueberries to know how they taste.


Elderberry is often used in pies, jams, and syrups, but can also be eaten fresh.

If you’re wondering what elderberry tastes like, This guide got you covered.

Without any further ado, let’s get started.

What Is Elderberry?

Elderberry is one of the most inviting and nutritious berries present on the face of Earth.

They have a copious amount of antioxidants and Vitamins that boost your immunity.

Elderberries are known by different names, including Black Elder, Bore Tree, Common Elder, Danewort, Bour Tree.

What Does Elderberry Taste Like?

Fresh elderberries have a tart taste. Many people consider elderberries astringent or too bland and bitter to eat raw. Elderberries do not have the same sweetness as other berries, such as blackberries or raspberries. Because of their tart flavor, elderberries are generally cooked and used in pies, jams, beverages, etc.

They are healthy, they taste great, and you can blend them in all kinds of meals. If you find their taste intense, you can mix them with other sweeter fruits to tone down the flavor.

They have a unique tart and acidic flavor and somewhat tart taste.

Because of their flavor, elderberries blend with both sweeter and tart-like fruits. In simple terms, we can describe their flavor as tart, bitter, and strong, with toxins on the side.

Make sure you do not eat green or red elderberries as they are raw. If they are black, they are ripe and ready to eat.

Elderberry Varieties

The two most common types of elderberries are:

  • European elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
  • American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) tastes slightly sweeter than European elderberry.

There is also Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa). It is similar to the American species.

Some typical American cultivar varieties of elderberry are:

  • Nova has sizeable sweet fruit.
  • Johns is great for making jellies.
  • York variety produces the largest berries of all the elderberries.

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Differences Between Elderberry And Elderflower

Firstly, the flavor and aroma of elderberry and elderflower. The consensus for elderflower is that it is intensely floral and is a combination of some of the most pleasantly sweet fragrances in nature. The elderberry, in comparison, is mainly fruity and tart without most of the redolent elements that can be found in elderflower.

Secondly, elderflowers do not have the toxic elements, but elderberries have. So make sure you avoid eating elderberries raw, or you will get sick.

Both elderberry and elderflower come from the same plant and have similar nutritional value. But they are not the same.

Ways To Eat Elderberries

Elderberry is used in a variety of ways. Here are some ways to eat them:-

  • Pies and muffins: mixed with some honey, the berries look great when added to the sweet cake batter and give it a pretty purple color.
  • Tea: the tea is made from ripe and dried elderberries. It has a sweet and tart flavor with earthy undertones. If you want to change the taste, you can boil the berries with additional ingredients like honey, cinnamon, and ginger.
  • Wine: the making of wine requires both flowers and berries.
  • Jelly and jams
  • Juice
  • Syrup

What Does Elderberry Juice Taste Like?

The bitter and tart flavor you find in raw elderberries transforms into something flavorsome when you make juice from them. Elderberries make excellent juice that also acts as a remedy for colds in winter.

A cup of hot elderberry juice can help prevent flu and cold in winters.

The diluting causes the liquid to have a thinner consistency. If you find the juice too strong, you can add other fruits.

What Does Elderberry Syrup Taste Like?

It tastes sweet with a hint of tartness. Since elderberries themselves are not sweet, honey is added to the syrup to give it a sweet flavor. Because of elderberries’ tart and bitter taste, almost every recipe contains a lot of sugar or honey. You can have it drizzle it over pancakes, waffles, or even vanilla ice cream!

Both the elderberry juice and elderberry syrup taste pretty similar. However, the syrup is thicker than the juice.

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What Does Elderberry Jam Taste Like?

Elderberries taste as divine as jam. The jam has a sweet-tart taste with a hint of earthy flavor. Although elderberries have a wonderful taste of their own, you can add apples or pear, if you prefer things a little on the sweet side, a nice mix of tartness and sweetness.

Many believe that elderberry jams taste sweet yet a bit tangy. You can also add more flavor and taste by mixing other spices like cloves and cinnamon.

You can keep the jam for a longer period as well.

Does Elderberry Taste Bad?

People find the taste of elderberries either too bland or bitter to eat raw. Elderberries are not sweet like raspberries or blueberries. They have a distinctly tart and acidic flavor.

Because elderberry tastes tart, tangy or bitter,  people usually add sweeter fruits or spices to mellow the intense taste.

The berries develop a much better taste when processed for use in food and drink.

Texture Of Elderberry

Elderberry contains the same amount of water as grapes, so their flesh is similar to that of a grape. They are not difficult to chew. The tiny seeds add a little bit of crunch but not much flavor; their presence is felt through texture since they don’t bring any specific taste.

Benefits Of Eating Elderberry

In terms of nutrition, elderberries are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins. They have 50% more antioxidants than other berries. The primary nutrients are Iron, Vitamin C, Dietary Fiber, Copper, and Vitamin B6. They also aid in reducing sinus pain and treating chronic fatigue etc.

In The End

I hope this guide helped you understand and answer your elderberry taste questions.

If you have any queries regarding this, please let us know. Also, we’d love to hear if you have tips on making our guide even better!

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About Betty Ellis

Betty is a food researcher who spends most of her time analyzing the nutritional aspects of various foods. She also researches methods to enhance taste, as well as how to store certain types of foods. She enjoys cooking for herself and her three dogs even though she doesn't have a lot of free time outside work.