Harvest elderberries in late August through early September, depending on the cultivar. When ripe, the entire fruit cluster should be removed and the berries stripped from the cluster for use. Uncooked berries have a dark purple juice and are astringent and inedible. Use the fruit as soon as possible or keep it at a cool temperature for later use. It is difficult to transport elderberries because the fruits fall off the cluster during transit.

Avoid disturbing the soil, because the shallow root system is easily damaged.

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