Harvesting Elderberry Plants

Are you ready to enjoy delicious homegrown fruit? Harvest is the time to enjoy the results of your hard work. Keep a few things in consideration as you reap the fruits of your labor: the best time to pick the fruit, and how to store your harvest.

NOTE: This is part 8 in a series of 8 articles. For a complete background on how to grow elderberry plants, we recommend starting from the beginning.

When to Harvest

  • You can expect to start harvesting elderberries in the second season.
  • Elderberry fruits normally mature between mid-August and mid-September and turn a dark purple when they are fully ripe.
  • Elderberries right off the bush are usually tart. Clusters ripen over a period of 5-15 days.
  • The easiest way to harvest elderberries is to use scissors to snip the entire cluster from the shrub and then remove the berries from the cluster.
  • The annual average yield per plant is 12-15 pounds.


  • Refrigerate immediately after harvesting or freeze for later use.
Previous: Watering Elderberry Plants