How to Make Elderberry Syrup
Have you noticed the big white blooms of Elderberries while out driving around lately? You can see them from the road...even driving 60 miles per hour! They seem to be EVERYWHERE!!! They really love low wet areas but, you can still find them in some not so wet areas. Well, if you haven't seen them that is okay! You haven't noticed them yet because you didn't know what you were looking for!
Remember "Where's Waldo"? It's kind of like that...once you know what you're looking for you will be sure to spot them everywhere! They can grow anywhere from a few feet tall to a towering 20 feet tall!
So you may be wondering....why am I looking for these flowers? We all know that after the flowers come fruit and Elderberry fruit are AMAZING!!! These big clusters of tiny black berries are packed with cold and flu fighting properties!
Here is a great article on all of the amazing benefits of Elderberry! If you're not up for reading the whole article, I will make it easy for you! (***If you want to read the whole article, look below for something amazing to help you!)
Here are my favorites:
1) Great for fighting colds and flu
2) Lowers blood sugar....can I get a woohoo for that one???
3) Encourages healthy skin
We try to keep them on hand so that if anyone starts to come down with a cold or the flu we can make a batch of Elderberry Syrup. It's not the kind of syrup you would put on a pancake, although if you did they would be flu-fighting pancakes. I might be on to something there :) This syrup is more medicinal and while it isn't completely gross, it isn't something you would just pour on food.
You can make the Elderberry Syrup using either fresh or dried berries. Here is the recipe I follow...well, I sort of follow. You cannot mess this up! If you want more cinnamon, add more cinnamon. Or whatever else you like! This one is kind of sweet, but you may want to add more honey.
3 cups of water and 3 cups of FRESH elderberries
3 cups of water and 1 cup of DRIED elderberries (this equates to about 3 ounces)
1- 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Bring to a boil then simmer for about an hour. Strain through a tea towel or a fine sieve. Let cool until just barely warm to the touch. If you add the honey too soon you will kill the good enzymes that are in the honey.
1/2 cup of local raw honey
Mix it up really well and put it in a jar. Store in the refrigerator.
That's it! It's pretty simple and you will be amazed at how your body craves it when you have a sore throat, a sniffy nose or are coming down with something yucky. When I start to have a scratchy throat, I like to put mine in a little jar and just leave it on the counter, sipping it throughout the day.
This was my first year drying elderberries. I really didn't even know it was something you could buy until I ran out and my good friend offered to share some that she had just ordered. So...this year I got to thinking that if some big company could do it, then so could I! I had bought a used dehydrator a few years back so I was ready to go!
Just clip off the clusters and lay them on your drying rack sheet and leave them in there overnight. I'm sure you could even dry them in your oven on the lowest setting.
Be sure to get them really dry and you can save them in jars, bags or even in a food saver bag in the freezer. If they are kept dry they will stay good for a long time.
Now, go find a bucket and some clippers and get to looking for those big white blooms and clusters of black berries! And, remember, fruit always comes after blooms so if you still see the white flowers but no berries then you can keep an eye on that plant and know that berries aren't too far behind.
Let me know if you need some help or just want to brag a little about the great bunch of them you found!
Happy hunting! Annette
P.S. I recently have been adding some of the plain Elderberry Juice into my raw milk kefir. It makes the prettiest pink drink! A super ninja drink packed with all kinds of goodness! To make the Elderberry Juice I just combine equal parts fresh berries and water and cook it down for an hour or so. Keep mashing the berries to get all the good out. Strain it through a tea towel and store it in the refrigerator.
***When you are reading the article mentioned above, look for the colored words or letters within the text. Those are links that will take you to where the information came from. Many of these are the actual Published Medical Study! Pretty cool, right?