It is easy to pick 33 lbs wild elderberries in a day, we did in 2008. Dried elderberries at the health food store or wine shop are $20/lb, you do the math? I'm drinking elderberry melomel and grinning all the way to the bank...I mean cellar!
After 4 weeks ferment of a classic mead, toss into the carboy about 1 lb ripe elderberries per gallon of mead. Sweeten with chenin blanc for a honey/elderberry delight. As I convinced Fatbloke chenin blanc backsweetening will taste more like honey, than actually backsweeting with honey....FACT!
The elderberries pictured are not ready, as the berry heads will droop towards the ground when ripe. Destem them with a fork after freezing them overnight. DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN FREEZER as I did...they will freezer burn easily. Elderberries are used to accent many different wines, besides making an excellent melomel alone.
All my mead recipes should age for 2 years, but rarely do they last that long. A 4 year old elderberry is to die for...TRUELY an exquisite desert melomel.