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Q: Are elderberries safe to home can or jar and sell as a cottage food product?

A: To be a legal cottage food product, your product must be classified as non potentially hazardous with a pH level ≤4.6. or water activity level ≤ 0.85. Elderberries have an average pH of 4.8 therefore considered a low-acid food and a risk for botulism if jarred or home canned. 

Home canning recipes are developed for specific products and are not interchangeable to other products. The pH safe for canning of fruits and fruit products is 4.6. Currently, there are no home-canning recommendations for home canning elderberries, sauce, syrup, or juice. The one exception is the canning of elderberry jam or jelly. To safely home can it, you must weigh ingredients to assure the correct sugar and elderberry ratio is used to control for water activity. Read the special precautions for elderberry jam or jelly from the University of Wisconsin.

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