The best way to preserve Elderberries and use their superpower when needed is to make homemade Elderberry syrup. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, elderberry syrup is a herbal formula that supports your health during the cold and flu season.
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Today is the autumn equinox, this marks the beginning of Autumn and brings us closer to winter, our ancestors would have begun the journey towards warmer lands and started stocking up on food and clothes, essential duties to survive the winter. This was of course, before weather apps or even calendars, so how did they know that winter was fast approaching? One way would have been the changing colour of the leaves, another would be birds migrating south, and another would be Elderberries ripening exactly around this time.
Fast forward 10’000 years to my garden. My mother in law is visiting and we’re taking a walk through the numerous elderberry bushes dotting our path, they’re ripe as can be and ready for picking. My mother in law is an expert in elderberries, she’s told me many times how she creates a variety of concoctions with her elderberries, one of her favourite being an elderberry syrup that her neighbours flock to every autumn. Before we jump to the recipe, let’s talk about all the benefits and attributes of the elderberry syrup, such as beating a cold or the flu and boosting your natural immunity for the coming cold months.
Elderberries (Sambucus Nigra) are a herb that grows on a bush in the wild, mostly in forests and meadows, They begin to blossom in the spring as yellowish flowers and start to ripen at the beginning of autumn as a wine red coloured berries. We used the yellowish flowers picked in the spring in cordials and fritters. The best way to preserve berries is to make elderberry jam or elderberry syrup. The berries are packed with vitamin C, Calcium, Iron and Sambucol. But the main superpower of elderberries lies in their ability to rapidly rid you of an infection. The Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel found that using elderberries before a possible infection will prevent the spread of the virus while taking them after an onset infection will reduce the spread by up to 50%.
Some plants that look similar to elderberries can be toxic, so take a good look and search before you are sure.
What’s more, always pick fully riped berries, remove any green stragglers and stems, both are inedible.
Lastly, always cook your elderberries for a minimum of 20 minutes, as we show in our videos.
Elderberry syrup; does it work?
As per the study mentioned earlier, elderberries, even taken in the form of a tasty syrup such as ours, fight infection naturally and effectively. To elaborate; elderberries are a very effective form of pain relief when the pain is of nervous origin, thus including inflammation.
Though the syrup isn’t only made out of elderberries, we also used cinnamon, raw honey and ginger, all of which have numerous health benefits such as, an immunity boost, All of these herbs and ingredients are all-around proponents of health and well being.
How to make homemade Elderberry syrup
First step: As most of my recipes start, a walk is an essential part of this recipe so make sure to pick fully ripened berries (approx 30 stems with berries). In case you don’t have access to any elderberry bush you can buy dry ones here. In that case, you will need a half quantity of dried ones (1 cup)
Second step: remove all stems and green berries and wash the ripe berries thoroughly
Third step: Add elderberries into a medium-sized saucepan and pour over 2 cups of water.
Step four: Add cinnamon, vanilla, the juice from 1 lemon, ginger and cloves
Step five: Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 1 hour. Some of the liquid should evaporate by then.
Step six: Remove from the heat. Use the stick blender to crush the berries
Step seven: Pour the mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl and use the spoon to discard solids.
Step eight: When the liquid is lukewarm add raw honey and mix it well
Step nine: Fill it in sterile and dry bottles or mason jars and store in the fridge.
How to make elderberry syrup in an instant pot
Put all ingredients in one pot leaving out the honey, Next, set it to high pressure and leave it for 9 minutes. Vent the pressure and strain. Wait until the mixture is at room temperature, then stir in the honey.
What is the dosage?
The typical dosage is 1 tablespoon/day
double the dosage if the symptoms of flu or colds already hit
How to use elderberry syrup
The first way you can use the syrup is by taking one or two teaspoons of concentrated syrup of it every day as prevention for infection.
Another way you can use it is by making a delicious drink by mixing the syrup with some sparkling water and lemon juice.
You can also use it was a topping on pancakes or waffles, or mix it into your yoghurt, the kids will love it!
You can add it to your dough and make panna cotta!
And lastly, if you need a kick at the end of the day, you can mix it with rum and make a fine stiff one.
What is the taste of Elderberry syrup?
It tastes sweetly spiced with ginger and a cinnamon touch. Since it’s homemade, don’t be afraid to adjust its taste. Simply add more of the ingredients you like and skip those you don’t.
How to store elderberry syrup?
On its own, elderberry syrup will last around a month in a fridge. If you’re looking to store it for longer periods, you’ll have to contain the syrup in an airtight container, this can make it last for several months.
Should Elderberry syrup be used during pregnancy?
The attached study suggests that due to the lack of sufficient studies to conclude on the safety in pregnancy the Elderberry syrup should not be used by a pregnant woman.