Elderberry Shrub [Drinking vinegar] Recipe from Elderberry Edge Farm


Elderberry Shrub ~ Elderberry Edge Farm

Elderberry Shrub was used before freezers/refrigeration as a way to keep the goodness of the berries past their ripening date. It has pretty much been forgotten about these days but it is a recipe well worth bringing back. I have tried this recipe with other fruits and berries but honestly to me nothing but the elderberry is quite as delicious! Don't let the vinegar in this Elderberry Shrub sway you, I do not even like the taste of  some vinaigrette dressings, but this is on a different level. The vinegar remains in the background, the elderberry is front and center, the tiny twang at the end....there is the vinegar. Consider growing your own or just different varieties of elderberries? Grab some cuttings during the first quarter of every year at my Farm Store

Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 day 20 minutes
Servings 1 gallon (appox)
Author Elderberry Edge Farm


  • 2 cups elderberries
  • 2 cups APPLE cider vinegar (NOT apple cider FLAVORED vinegar)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar (this measurement is approximated, measure amount of liquid you get after 24 hours and THAT is exact amount of sugar to add)


  1. In equal parts mix 2 cups of cleaned elderberries and apple cinder vinegar in a quart jar. Be careful, much of the apple cider vinegar sold today is only apple cider flavored. It will be stated in tiny print on the label. Get the real stuff not flavored!

  2. Crush berries lightly, cover and chill for 24 hours, shaking and stirring occasionally.  (our forefathers without refrigeration probably just put this in the cellar for coolness )

  3. After 24 hours strain off solids and measure how much liquid you have. It should be about 2.5 to 3 cups depending on the juiciness of the berries. Whatever the amount of liquid is, add that much sugar to the liquid in a non reactive pan.

  4. Bring to boil over medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Remove and let cool before bottling. 

  5. Before drinking mix shrub 5 to one with water! Adjust ratio to your taste preference. Served chilled with ice.

Recipe Notes

Elderberry recipes have recently had a resurgence in popularity as a natural holistic way of dealing with health issues. Elderberry has not been researched extensively enough to receive approval by the United States FDA.  Recipes on this site are meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and are not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. Elderberry use may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you. For more information on uses, side effects, drug interactions and dosage please visit WebMD

Raw elderberries can cause stomach upset.