Recently, friends of ours tipped us off to a local spot to harvest elderberries just outside town. Today, Agata and her mom (cute!) went out together to see if they could find them- and, the huge bowls of berries on the kitchen table are any evidence, they managed just fine.
Not pictured above is the 5 gallons of elderberries that went home with Agata's mom, destined to become elderberry wine. We kept a big bowl for ourselves through, and decided (mostly because we're running low on jars) to boil it down into syrup.
Taking the elderberries off their stems was a pretty fiddly business, but once they were off the process was simple. We boiled the elderberries with just enough water to keep them from burning, and then ran them through a food mill to get out the bulk of the seeds. Then we returned the juice to the pot and boiled it down until we decided it was 'syrupy' enough, and added just enough sugar to balance out the tartness of the berries.
As a side note, elderberries were being sold at our local farmers market for $7 a quart last week. At that rate, we were probably boiling down the equivalent $50 worth of elderberries or something. Foraging = awesome.