By: Nina Bergstedt
Elderberries shouldn’t need much of an introduction. They are most commonly known as an immune booster, typically used as a natural remedy for cold/flu. The berries pack a rich antioxidant known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanin works by clearing the body of free radicals that damage cells at the DNA level. It also has antiviral properties that may prevent or reduce the severity of certain common infections. They are also good for constipation, pain relief (known to reduce inflammation), and disease prevention. Topical elderberry tinctures and salves have long been used to treat dental pain, cuts, bruises, and burns. There are even some who claim that elderberry syrup can treat sciatica and other forms of neuropathic pain.
How to make elderberry syrup:
3½ cups water
2/3 cup black elderberries (dried, or 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen) (elderberry powder can be used if the berries aren’t available. Use about 1/2 cup in this recipe instead of 2/3 cup.)
2 TBSP ginger (grated)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
1 cup raw honey
Alternative to honey:
• maple syrup or nutrient-rich molasses
• Omit the sweetener all together (this will make elderberry juice, which will need to be consumed much more quickly).
1. Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
3. Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
4. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil.
5. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
6. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
7. When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well.
8. When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a 16-ounce mason/glass jar.
That’s it! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties.
Instant Pot option: Put all ingredients except honey in pot, seal lid, and set manually for 9 minutes on high pressure. Vent pressure and strain. When cooled to room temperature, stir in the honey.
Standard dose is ½ – 1 teaspoon for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu/cold does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.
How long does elderberry syrup last in the fridge?
As a general rule, it lasts about two weeks in the fridge and you can freeze whatever you don’t use during that time. You can also freeze small amounts in an ice-cube tray and defrost when needed.