Beautiful Day

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Two years ago I decided to add two elderberry bushes to my herb garden landscape. I enjoy gardening and I enjoy learning about how to use the plants God provided to aid our health. One of those gems is the elderberry. Elderberries contain potassium, a large amount of vitamin C, and antioxidants. They are also known to strengthen the immune system. The most popular variety of elderberry is Sambucus nigra (also called Black Elder). It produces dark blue berries. You should stick with varieties that produce this color of berries, as opposed to red berries, in order to protect yourself from potential toxins in some varieties of berries. It is also important to make sure your berries are ripe! Sources vary on whether to eat these raw or not. Some people experience some stomach upset. The berries are a little bitter, but we do eat a small quantity raw. They are best when cooked and sweetened. We have made elderberry pies and combined them with other fruit to make fruit cobblers or crisps.

These bushes have yielded quite an abundance of elderberries. They grow fast, so they make a nice hedge in our yard too. The chickens appreciate hiding in their shade and have eaten a good share of elderberries; we've even caught them jumping up to higher branches to eat them off! The girls say they should have very healthy chickens! Which brings me back to the immune system....

One of the primary things I wanted to do with my elderberries is to make our own elderberry syrup to take in the winter cold and flu season. You can take 1 TBSP daily as a preventative in the winter time or a teaspoon every 2-3 hours during illness. For children under 2, you will want to heat the syrup in hot water to avoid any microbes in the honey. I used this recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs (and you can read more about elderberry syrup here).

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

- 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried organic Elderberries (harvest blue or black, avoid poisonous reds)

- 3 cups water

- 1 cup raw local honey

- 1 organic Cinnamon stick, 3 organic Cloves, and organic Ginger (optional)

Place berries, water, and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Smash the berries to release remaining juice and strain the mixture. Allow liquid to cool and stir in honey. Will last for 2-3 months stored in the fridge.

You can also pour the syrup over pancakes or ice cream or anything else that sounds good with berry syrup (however, I might not count on the health benefits if eaten over ice cream!). I am glad to have finally made some to have stored up for our family for the winter.

If you don't have access to fresh elderberries, you can purchase dried ones through both Mountain Rose Herbs and Bulk Herb Store.

****Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and am not dispensing medical advice. Please do your own research to make wise decisions for your own family.

1 comment:

  1. huh! I like your resourcefulness! =) And I like the idea of pouring it over icecream, personally. ;D ha!

    Curious to know how the chickens fare.



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