Ripe elderberries can become wine, jelly, jam or pie filling. Native Americans used the entire elderberry plant; the fruit for food and the stem for tubes or musical instruments. To freeze whole elderberries, it is helpful to know their intended use. Elderberries that will go into cooked dishes will be dry packed and those that will be served raw will be packed either with sugar or in a sweet syrup. In either case, start with elderberries washed in cold water and sorted before you proceed to pack for freezing.
Lay whole elderberries in a single layer on a tray. Place, uncovered, in the freezer. Allow them to freeze until they are nearly solid.
Place frozen elderberries into freezer bags or containers designed for freezing.
Press as much air as possible out of the freezer bag and seal them. If you are using other freezer containers, such as those made with hard plastic, allow for one-half an inch of space inside the container and seal it.
Write on the bag or container the date that the elderberries were frozen. Write the date on a piece of masking tape, for example, and tape it onto the container's outside. Place the containers in the freezer.
Prepare the sugar syrup by dissolving 3 cups of sugar in 4 cups of water. Add the sugar gradually and stir until it dissolves.
Place the syrup in the refrigerator and chill it.
Place the elderberries in a stiff container. pour the syrup over the berries and stir the mixture. Use enough syrup to just cover the berries. Leave one-half inch of space in the container.
Seal the container. Date the container and place it in the freezer.
Mix elderberries with sugar. Use 1 cup of sugar for every 8 cups of fruit.
Spoon sugared elderberries into freezer bags or stiff containers. Squeeze excess air out of the freezer bags and leave one-half inch of space in the stiff containers. Seal the bags or containers.
Date the freezer bags or stiff containers, and place the elderberries into the freezer.