Our young elderberry bushes produced beautiful blooms and as a result some berries. They are not ripening at the same rate so I picked and froze those that were deep blue-purple (almost black) and will continue to add to the frozen berries through the end of the season. My plan is to make a flu/cold syrup for those classic Connecticut winter months.
In the spring large heads of white flower clusters shaped like an umbrella adorn the bush. Our bushes were planted two years ago and have grown significantly (one is about six feet tall and the other about eight). They have also produced many suckers which I have read to leave alone for the first three to four years. “Let them grow wild” was the recommendation.
The flower clusters, once pollenated, produce tiny immature green berries that ripen over the course of the summer. We had several cycles of bloom which explains the different stages of ripeness of our berries now during harvest time.
Be sure to identify what you are picking if you find what you believe is an elderberry (or any berry for that matter as many berries are poisonous). Here are some photos of leaf structure,
stems and bark
and the bush with the still ripening berries in the umbrella like clusters on top.