Here's the recipe:
- 500 g elderberries (that's 1lb or 18oz, depending on what part of the world you live in)
- a pinch of sea salt
- 2 small onions (or 1 large)
- 250 ml (1 cup) herbal vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 50g (6 tablespoons) coconut nectar (gula java)
- Step 1: Enjoy picking the elderberries. Warning: your hands will be stained. Think of a combination between henna and beetroots. Don't worry, it will wear off. Eventually.
- Step 2: Remove the berries from the stems with a fork (don't be scrupulous about that). If you dread this step, simply place your bag with elderberries in the freezer for a couple of hours (or overnight) and they'll come off more easily. Remove any unripe berries. Seriously, have you already considered elderberries as paint bullets for an abstract painting project?
- Step 3: Place elderberries and vinegar in a cooking pot and cook until the berries have released all of their juice. Use a cheese cloth to filter the berries out. Squeeze thoroughly.
By now, you will have found out about the fabric dye properties of elderberries.
- Step 4: Add salt, coconut sugar (I want to experiment with maple syrup next time, I think it would work well) and chopped onions. Let simmer for at least 10 minutes. In my experience, the longer it simmers, the sweeter the mixture gets and the less sweetener you'll need.
Now may be a good time to tell you that elderberries were used as a hair dye in the past as well. But you may have already discovered that.
- Step 5: Pour through a strainer to remove the onions and pour in clan jars or bottles.
By this time, you may enjoy the new elderberry stained pattern on your kitchen floor and wall tiles. For you and your family members, bath time may be necessary.