Elderberry Syrup is definitely a hot buzzword lately. We are all looking for natural and easy ways to help our families, especially our children, prevent the dreaded flu and fight the inevitable sniffles once that weather turns cold. This syrup seems to be a great addition to our holistic medicine cabinet (along with other vitamins and probiotics). I’ve noticed a big difference in not only the instances of illness but the duration of a cold once the bug does hit our home. Since my first year of testing it out and seeing the results, I’ve been a diehard Elderberry Syrup maker. It’s my unofficial “1st of Fall” annual tradition.
According to Herb Wisdom, “Used for its antioxidant activity to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995. Elderberries (Sambucus) have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered.”
Pair these berries with the benefits of anti-inflammatory and anti-viral turmeric, antibacterial cinnamon, detoxifying ginger, and antimicrobial/healing cloves… and you have one kick-ass, supercharged elderberry syrup.
How to Make Homemade Elderberry Syrup
Yields about 1.5 quarts
2 1/2 cups dried elderberries
10 cups of water
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. whole cloves
2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, rough chopped
2 inch piece of fresh turmeric root, rough chopped
1 cup raw, unfiltered honey (local preferred)
1/2 cup Manuka honey
Boil the water with only the dried elderberries and spices inside (DO NOT COOK THE HONEY; YOU WILL PASTEURIZE IT AND KILL OFF THE BENEFICIAL DISEASE-FIGHTING ENZYMES AND COMPOUNDS!), then simmer on low for about an hour, stirring and mashing with the back of your spoon occasionally. You don’t want it to burn it so it’s important to cook this on very low heat, with barely any bubbling. The point is to just infuse/marinate the ingredients over time as well as letting the mixture cook down and reduce by at least half. Once this happens, allow it to sit on your stove and cool down until it comes to almost room temperature (a little warm is okay). At this point, you can mix in the honey. If you prefer it slightly sweeter, feel free to add more honey–it’s really up to you. But I find that 1.5 cups is just enough to make it slightly sweet and syrupy in texture.
Once all of the honey has dissolved and is incorporated well, strain the mixture through a sieve over a bowl or right into a storage mason jar. I strain all the berries a second time and really mush them with that back of a spoon to get every last drop of juice out, but feel free to use a nut milk bag if you prefer to skip a second step and just squeeze all the juice out in one shot (make sure if you do this you wear gloves because it will stain your hands).
This batch is so large, that it usually lasts our family all season (stored in the fridge).
Kids get about 1/2 or 1 teaspoon every other day and adults get 1 tablespoon per serving.
To Your Health!