Why Does Elderberry Smell So Gross – Can Elderberry Go Bad?

If you’ve ever smelled elderberry syrup before, chances are you were not impressed. It’s a pretty strong smell, and it’s not exactly the most pleasant thing in the world. Why does elderberry smell so bad? And can elderberry go bad? Keep reading to find out!

Why Does Elderberry Smell Bad?

The bad smell of elderberry syrup is due to the presence of certain compounds called phenols. These molecules have a pungent odor, and are responsible for the unpleasant smell of many different plants. Some people have described this strong scent as smelling like feet or urine – not very pleasant!

image of smelled fresh elderberries with leaves and jar in background

In addition to smelling bad, some phenols can also be harmful to your health. For example, phenol-containing foods can interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients. So if you’re making your own, be sure to cook it long enough to destroy these harmful compounds.

Does Elderberry Go Bad?

The simple answer to this question is yes, elderberry can go bad. The longer it sits on the shelf, or in your pantry, the more likely it is that it will start to spoil. This is because elderberry syrup is made from berries that are high in sugar. When these sugars start to ferment, they produce a strong and unpleasant odor.

What does Elderberry Smell Like?

So what does elderberry syrup actually smell like? The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including the age of the syrup and how it was stored. Generally speaking, however, elderberry syrup will have a strong, pungent odor that can be described as either feet or urine-like. Yuck!

ripe elderberries image


If you’re not a fan of the smell of elderberry syrup, there are a few things you can do to reduce it. One is to cook the syrup for a longer period of time, which will help to destroy the harmful phenols. You can also store it in a sealed container in the fridge, which will help to keep the smell at bay.

But if you’re really not a fan of the smell, you might want to try a different type of syrup altogether. There are lots of great options out there, so don’t be afraid to experiment!

Why Does Elderberry Smell Like Feet?

As previously mentioned, the reason the berries smell so strongly is due to the presence of compounds called phenols in the elderberry. Phenols give off a bad odor and are the reason it smells so terrible.


Can Elderberry Syrup Go Bad?

Yes, elderberry syrup can go bad. The longer it sits on the shelf or in your pantry, the more likely it is to spoil. It’s best to keep the syrup in your refrigerator and use it all within a couple of months.

image of elderberry varieties including berries and syrup


How Do I Store Elderberries?

If you’re going to be storing your elderberries, it’s best to do so in a sealed container in the fridge. This will help keep them fresh and prevent them from spoiling. You can also freeze them, but they will lose some of their flavor this way. Another option is to dry the berries, which can help them last for several months. Be sure to dry them at a moderate heat in order to destroy any toxic compounds in them.

Can You Freeze Elderberry?

Yes, you can freeze elderberry. However, keep in mind that they will lose some of their flavor this way.

Do Dried Elderberries Stink?

Yes, dried elderberries can have a pretty strong odor. This is due to the presence of certain compounds that give off a bad smell.

Does Elderberry Tea Smell Bad?

No, elderberry tea does not have a bad smell. In fact, it has a pretty mild flavor and can be enjoyed hot or cold. If you’re looking for a refreshing drink to help you cool down during the summer, elderberry tea, elderberry juice, or elderberry wine are great options!

image of elderberry juice and wine


Do Elderberry Flowers Smell?

Elderberry flowers do not stink like elderberries do. The flowers should smell pleasant and floral, similar to other flowers. If the flowers smell damp or dirty they could be dying, or you might have misidentified the plant. Check out our guide on how to grow elderberry to learn more about how the plant looks and grows.

How Long Does Elderberry Last?

Plain Elderberries will last for 1-2 weeks when stored in a sealed container in the fridge. Frozen Elderberries will last for around six months.

How Can I Tell If Elderberry Has Gone Bad?

There are a few key features you can use to tell if elderberries have gone bad. The most important distinguishing features are appearance, smell, and taste. If fresh elderberries have gone bad they will appear wrinkly and soggy, smell terrible, and taste very bitter.


In conclusion, the elder berries certainly do smell bad, while the flowers generally smell good. It’s important to keep in mind that black elderberry must be cooked first, and never eaten raw. In addition, unripe berries should not be eaten in any form.