My foraged food recipes continue! Granted it feels a bit like elderberry overload this week, but I've got so many of them growing locally right now it seems a shame not to forage for them.
Before I babble on about the wondrous benefits of these berries, I should say that the elderberry used most often for medicinal purposes is Sambucus nigra, or European elder (also called black elder). Avoid dwarf elder which are poisonous & NEVER ingest raw or unripe elderberry. The fruit, seeds, leaves, and bark contain a chemical related to cyanide, which is obviously equally dangerous.
Now for the beneficial bit! Elderberries have significant levels of vitamin A, making them an ideal option for fading age spots and preventing or reducing wrinkles. Elderberries are anti-inflammatory and antiviral which helps make them a great acne fighter. Another reason to get excited about elderberries can be found in their flavonoids. What's the big deal about flavonoids? Well, for starters, they have powerful antioxidant properties and may help prevent damage to the body’s cells.
Using the Japanese seaweed extract agar agar you can easily turn elderberry liquid to jelly. This stuff is odourless, flavourless & basically the vegan answer to gelatine.
To make your vegan panna cotta jellies, you need to warm the elderberry syrup gently, then stir in the agar agar as per the ratio on the tub. Pour into the jelly moulds & pop into the fridge for a couple of hours to set.
Serve with coconut yoghurt & fresh mint.