Pontack – Ye Olde Englishe Elderberry Sauce

1 September 2014

Prep. Time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: about 45 minutes, depending how much you want to boil it down

Makes: about 750 ml


Elderberries, ripe and removed from the stalks   ca. 750 g

Onions                                           3

Garlic cloves                                    2 (or more according to taste)

Red wine vinegar                                 200 ml

Sugar, light brown                               200 g

Cloves                                           4 (or according to taste)

Allspice berries                                 6

Black peppercorns, cracked                       2 tsp

Nutmeg                                           grated, according to taste

Salt                                             a pinch

Water                                            150 ml

1. Remove the ripe elderberries from the stalks using a fork (I fill a large bowl with water, hold the bunches of berries under the water and pull the fork through them to get them off the stalks – holding them under water prevents them from flying all over the kitchen… – also gets them rinsed and any undesirables (shrivelled, still green or mushy berries, as well as earwigs and co. …) tend to float to the top. Strain the elderberries and set aside.

2. Dissolve the sugar in the red wine vinegar over a low heat. Add the onions (finely diced), the garlic (crushed) and all of the spices. Bring up to the boil and boil, uncovered, for about 15 minutes until reduced and syrupy. Stir every now and again to make sure nothing catches on the bottom of the pan.

3. Add the elderberries with about 150 ml of water (not too much otherwise your sauce will be watery) and simmer for about 15 minutes, crushing the berries a couple of times during cooking using a potato masher to get the maximum amount of juice out of them.

3. Strain through a fine sieve. If you are wanting to use the sauce right away you can now return it to the heat and reduce further until thick and syrupy. Otherwise it does benefit from being bottled and allowed to mature – bottle as is sterilised bottles, seal immediately and store in cool, dark place where it will keep for many months.

What to use it for?

–      A sauce to accompany and/or a marinade for rich meats like venison, game birds or liver

–      In a vinaigrette for autumn/winter salads

–      As a flavourful addition to winter stews, casseroles, goulash and the like.   

… for example.

And here is some background on the sauce’s history:

2 thoughts on “Pontack – Ye Olde Englishe Elderberry Sauce

  1. Pingback: Happy New Year from the Orchard | An Edible Landscape

  2. Pingback: September Season | An Edible Landscape

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