cultivated elderberry toxicity

Asked November 28, 2018, 11:21 AM EST

We have been growing and eating black elderberries in our garden for over 15 years...same with others in the neighborhood. We freeze them and use them raw/uncooked as an ingredient in smoothies throughout the winter. Recently the subject of their toxicity (seeds) has come up...when eaten uncooked. Have we been "poisoning" ourselves all these years? Neither of us has experienced any of the symptoms I've read about...as far as we know. Are there cultivars that possibly have less/minimal amts of the toxins? We consider elders highly nutritious especially in winter and it seems that cooking them would destroy some of the nutrients...vit C? Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Lane County Oregon food safety

1 Response

I don't think you have to worry about your berries being toxic. The stems and leaves have some toxin in them but you would have to eat a whole lot to have any affect. They recommend removing the berries from the stems for that reason. Enjoy your berries.

The red elderberries are toxic if eaten raw but you would have to eat a lot of them for anything to happen and it is usually gastric issues that show up.

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Nellie Oehler