In the following article, I present you two variations for Hollerkoch or Hollerröster (= elderberry compote or stew). Later in the post, I also collected a few tips for harvesting and preparing elderberries. [Directly to recipe]
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The following recipes are intended to serve as an inspiration to pair the elderberries with other fruits and spices than traditionally. (Usually, elderberries in Austria are cooked with plums, and often refined with red wine, cinnamon and cloves)
As in the garden of my mother-in-law on the outskirts of Vienna, the elderberries were already ripe at the end of July, I wanted to make them a bit more summery. That’s why I mixed the elderberries with a lot of apples and peaches.
I cooked half of it with some rosemary. That gave the whole thing a Mediterranean touch.
The other half of the harvested berries I served with sour cream. This is how my grandma always ate it as a child. Also yogurt would fit very well instead of the sour cream.
Tips for harvesting and preparing elderberries
- Only pick umbels, where all berries are already black.
- Please only pick elderberries if you are sure how they look like. There are a few shrubs that look similar but where the berries are really poisonous, even after cooking.
- Never eat raw elderberries, they are slightly toxic when uncooked and can cause stomach pain. In addition, cook and eat only the berries and not the stems.
- When picking the berries, shake out the umbels, as beetles and other insects often hide in it.
- Wash before cooking, you may also get rid of a few beetles here …
- Mostly it is recommended to wear gloves while picking and processing because the berries rub off.
- To remove the stems, it is best to take a fork and “comb” the umbels:
Shelf life of elderberry compote
The elderberries, on the one hand, are preserved through the cooking process. On the other hand by the addition of sugar and lemon (acid). The more sugar and acid, the better preserved the berries are.
In addition, you have to sterilize your mason jars, by, for example, panning in rum or pouring boiled water over them.
The following recipe works out with relatively little sugar and I tried it for the first time. That’s why I can not say anything about the durability. In principle, a well made elderberry stew can be preserved for a year or more.
elderberry stew / elderberry compote fits well as a side dish to:
- Grießschmarrn (Baked Semolina Porridge)
- Kaiserschmarrn (Austrian Sugared Pancakes)
- Yogurt or sour cream
- sweet curd dumplings
- and everything else you could pair with compote …