Elderberries have a long history as a folk cure for a variety of ailments. Currently, scientific studies are being conducted to test the accuracy of these health claims. While some uses haven't been proven yet, elderberries in the form of elderberry syrup have been shown to boost immunity, decrease mucus production during colds and fight flu symptoms.
- 2 C. fresh or dried elderberries
- 2 C. filtered water
- Local honey
- Vodka (optional)
Gently heat elderberries and water on the stove in a non-reactive pot. (I soak the fruit and water overnight before cooking, so no need to mash.) Simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, nut bag, or cheesecloth into a Pyrex measuring cup or stainless bowl. Press down on the mixture with a large wooden or stainless steel spoon to extract all the juice (or squeeze the bag thoroughly). Measure the finished liquid. You will add 50% of this volume in honey and 20% vodka (optional) to preserve. For example, 2 oz honey to 4 oz finished liquid. If you want a thicker, sweeter syrup, add equal parts honey to finished liquid. Stir to fully dissolve the honey.
Note: mixture must be warm for this step.
Pour into a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid (canning jar, etc.) and label the jar with the contents and date.
Caution! Elderberries stain clothing and surfaces. Though, on the bright side, they make a fantastic natural dye!
For variation: Add an inch of fresh sliced ginger, 1 TBL of cinnamon bark chips or broken sticks and 1-3 tsp of cardamom seeds to the elderberry/water mixture. And/or add up to 1/2 c. tart cherry juice (unsweetened).
Adults take 1 - 3 TBL each day to prevent colds and flu. Children may take 1 - 2 tsp.
To shorten the duration of an illness, take liberally at the first sign of a cold or flu.
Adapted from Learningherbs.com recipe