I couldn’t decide whether to go with a Homestead Health segment on this one or Preserving the Harvest….elderberry syrup can literally go into either category! I extolled the virtues of the humble elderberry in my last post, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear how beneficial it can be for your health. Elderberry syrup is a traditional preventative and cure for both colds and flu. The juice is naturally high in vitamins A, B, and C to stimulate and fortify your immune system. Many studies have shown elderberry syrup to be an effective deterent against all sorts of bacteria and viruses. But wait there’s more…it tastes great to boot. We like to use the syrup on pancakes or waffles, mixed with soda water or kefir, and in smoothies. The kids really love the flavor so it’s easy to integrate this powerful medicine into you daily dietary routine….especially with cold and flu season coming on!
Elderberries are plentiful in our neck of the woods, so we go cheap and wild harvest all of ours for this recipe, but you can purchase dried elderberries and reconstitute them as a substitution easy enough (get dried berries here). Our recipe is pretty easy so don’t stress on the substitutions. We like to wait until after a good frost to harvest the fresh berries as they seem to be a little sweeter then. We also take pretty good care not to have any leaves mixed in with the berries and as few stems as possible before we precession them for the juice. Leaves and stems can alter the flavor, and can be harmful if consumed in large quantities.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
- 8 cups elderberry juice, this can be fresh juice (we use a steam juicer, super easy and convenient!), reconstituted dried berries, or a strained mash of fresh berries (put berries in a pan cover with water, bring to simmer, smash with potato masher or immersion blender, then strained through cheese cloth). We’ve done it all these ways and like the steam juicer best!
- 2 cups local raw honey, you can use plain white sugar to taste here, or dehydrated sugar cane juice, molasses, or even maple syrup…this is all to taste but 2 cups is a good starting point for 8 cups of juice.
- Optional…ginger, cinnamon, and/or cloves, once again to taste, but 4Tbs. of dried ginger, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. cloves is a good starting point for this recipe.
- Combine all ingredients except honey (or you choice of sweetening agent) in a heavy bottomed pot, and bring to a simmer for about a half hour.
- Remove from heat and add your sweetener, mix well ,and adjust sweetness to your liking.
- Bring the syrup back to a simmer and ladle it into clean mason jars, add your lids and rings as normal.
- You are now ready to waterbath can your syrup…process for 30 minutes or if you don’t feel like canning it will store fine in the fridge for upto three months.
That’s it! You’re done, super simple, super healthy, super delicious….medicine that your kids will love, and you’ll love to give them!
Dosages for cold and flu prevention for both children and adults is around a tablespoon per day. If some one falls ill, up it to a tablespoon every 2-3 hours. It is food, so you would be hard pressed to overdose yourself or child with this but use common sense here. Good luck and stay strong this flu season!