Monday is a day for fresh beginnings, tackling everything you ignored to spend time with your family on the weekend, and making new plans. My plan, especially as the cold sets in and winter is officially upon us, is to figure out how to prevent my family and myself from getting the flu bugs and colds that are going around. That means trying a new recipe!
Cue the Elderberry Syrup!
What is Elderberry Syrup, you ask? A simple germ fighting, antioxidant laden tonic made from the little shriveled dried berries of the Elderberry bush, also know by it’s scientific name, Sambucus Nigra.
Elderberry Syrup has been proven to inhibit many strains of influenza (more than the flu vaccine) and to dramatically shorten the amount of time required to recover from a flu or cold. Studies have shown that the elderberry actually disarms the enzyme that viruses use to infect healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. It also has loads of Vitamin C and immune-supporting minerals. And it’s relatively inexpensive, easy to make, and safe for the whole family. What’s NOT to love?
Elderberry Syrup Recipe:
Makes approximately 1/2 quart of syrup.
-2/3 cup dried elderberries, 1 cup fresh elderberries without the stems or leaves (they are toxic) or 1/2 cup elderberry powder. I covered all your options.
– 4 to 5 cups water.
-1.5 Tbsp powdered ginger. I used 2 Tbsp, and it was a bit overpowering, so I am suggesting less!
– 1 tsp of powdered cinammon. Specifying powdered because many recipes call for whole spices & I had to tweak my recipe to accomodate my stash of powdered spices.
– 1 cup of honey *Remember not to give honey to babies under 1. Molasses or Maple syrup can be substituted for honey if desired*
-add everything except the honey to a pot. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until it has condensed by about half. Mash the berries once they are rehydrated to release the most nutrients. I forgot about turning mine down at the right time, so I had to add an extra cup of water.
– remove from heat and cool until it is a comfortable temperature to handle. Strain through either a pretty fine strainer or a cheesecloth and press to get as much liquid through as possible.
– when it it cool, add honey to the mixture (you don’t want the heat to kill nutrients in the honey.)
– pour into bottles and seal tightly. Refridgerate after opening. This should last from 8 to 10 weeks, as a conservative estimate.
How Much to Take?
Good question. It depends on the person and the problem. To use elderberry syrup as a preventative tonic, I have seen suggestions ranging from 1 tsp to 1 shotglass per day for adults and 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp for children. Personally I am going to take 2 tbsp for myself and give my daughter 1/2 tsp. To treat a cold or flu, you will want to take the same dose you have decided on as a preventative up to every 2-3 hours until symptoms subside.
You could easily go through a lot of elderberry syrup while fighting sickness, and while having a cold is not the best time to be making a mess in the kitchen. With that in mind, I want to suggest that you could make larger batches, process them to the point of adding honey, then put the extra in the freezer. (The freezing temperatures can kill nutrients in rhe raw honey) You could even divide it by how much you will need for a day, week, etc before freezing. Then, as you run low you can thaw the next batch and add the appropriate amount of sweetener.
Where to buy Elderberries?
As a parting note, here are a few places to purchase dried elderberries online . . .
– Bulk Herb Store has them in nice little resealable 1/2 lb bags for around $7.00. It looks like one bag will make at least 3-4 batches of syrup.
-Amazon sells the Frontier brand dried Elderberries
-Mountain Rose Herbs also sells Elderberries in various bulk sizes