Does Elderberry Go Bad?

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, at no cost to you.

Elderberries are known for their use in wine and syrup making. Freshly harvested elderberries will have a mild tart, bitter and tangy taste. Elderberries are small in size and are black. Elderberries are juicy and have yellowish seeds inside.

Elderberries are cultivated in Northern America and some regions of Asia. Elder Berries are ready to harvest in mid-summer and are fully ripped in 15 to 20 days. Like all other fruits, you can tell if elderberries have gone bad by checking for visual signs, smell, and taste the fruit itself.

How To Store Elderberry

Elderberries are very small in size and are very soft. Whatever method you use to store these berries, do not try to put weight on them, or they will be squeezed. Elderberries have a low shelf life and need proper storage to make them last longer.

Room Temperature

Elderberries raw do not end up longer at room temperature. The berries will start rotting at room temperature in a couple of days. If you have washed the berries, then dry them by placing them on a towel, or mold will start to grow. Place berries in some dry, cool, and darker corners of the kitchen.

Berries are usually dried to store at room temperature,  The dried berries are sustainable at room temperature, and it is preferred to use them within a year.


Refrigeration of elderberries cannot extend its life much longer in refrigerator berries can last for up to a week or a maximum of 10 days. Keep checking if the berries rotting process has started and discard the rotting berries or affect the fresh ones.

Make sure to wash before use; however it is not preferred to wash them before storage. You can place them in a wide plastic bucket to avoid pressure and soften the berries.


You can also store Elderberries by freezing them. Frozen elderberries can be eaten raw or can be enjoyed along with desserts. It feels like eating frozen candy.

To freeze elderberries, if larger in quantity, first place them on the tray, and when frozen, you can place them in a plastic bag or an open container. If washed, then dry elderberries before freezing them.

It is convenient to use frozen elderberries. You can take out what you have to use. The juice of the elderberries is also frozen for later usage.

Can You Freeze Elderberry

Yes, you can easily freeze elderberries. Frozen elderberries are mostly likely to be eaten without thawing, which feels like eating raw candy. Elderberries juice is also stored, which can be later used to make jams or treat the flu virus.

It is preferred not to wash them before storing them if you want to freeze elderberries.  However, if you somehow plan to use it in the frozen form, wash them before storage and dry them by using a towel and then placing them into the freezer. Frozen elderberries are edible for about 4-6 months.

You can thaw berries at room temperature, avoid thawing them by using warm water, or turn soft and lose taste.


How Long Does Elderberry Last

Raw elderberries do not have a long shelf life, but dried elderberries can end up for a year at room temperature. Fresh juicy elderberries can sustain for about 2-3 days at room temperature, depending on the region where they are stored. In the colder region, this duration can increase for a week.

Refrigeration can increase the rotting process for a week on average. The age of elderberries in the refrigerator also depends upon how they are stored. Placing them in a wide plastic bucket with holes makes them last longer than contained in a container or are compressed or squished.

Freezing elderberries can make them last longer for about 4-6 months. Freezing longer than this point will affect the appearance and taste of the berries. Frozen juice of elderberries can last for two months only.

How To Tell If Eldernerry Is Bad

Elderberries are black in color and small in size. It is easy to differentiate between good and bad berries by looking for visual changes first; then, you can depend upon berries’ smell and horrible taste.

  • Appearance: Rotten elderberries will have an evident change in appearance. The outer skin of the berries will not be smooth and will have wrinkles on them. The spoiled berries will be soft on touching them.
  • Smell: A cluster of rotten berries will have a strong rotten smell like other berries. If so, you can discard the whole cluster.
  • Taste: Rotten berries will have a strong bitter and acidic effect. If you have eaten such berry, then it is preferred not to eat others.