Fall is here and with that comes the cold and flu season. So my husband, 2 girls, and I hopped in our car, a few Sundays a go, grabbed hot coffee and fresh donuts and made our way to the woods, in search of Elderberries.
We usually take a family drive on Sundays, and the area’s we visit are wooded and full of small family farms. So I knew there had to be elderberries! We had only been driving for about 10 minutes before we found a tall elderberry bush that was chalk full. My tall guy cut several clusters of berries off, and we continued with our drive. We saw several more bushes along the way, along with some cows, which was Eleanor’s favorite part!
Here’s how to make your syrup!
So now that you’ve found your fresh elderberries, remove the stems and leaves (they are known to be toxic) and wash the berries till they reveal their deep blue color. Once you’ve de-stemmed and washed them, put your berries in a pot with water. The ratio is for every 1 cup elderberries, 2 cups water. I had 3 cups of elderberries for my first batch of syrup, so I added 6 cups of water. Turn your stove temperature on high and get your water to a nice rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, turn it down to Med/Low and let your berries simmer for a good 30 min. While your berries simmer, go ahead and mash them a few times, to release their juices. 30 minutes is up! Strain, throw your berries out, and let your elderberry water cool a bit, before adding your honey. Once it’s warm, add a 1/2 cup honey for every 1 cup elderberries. For my 3 cups of berries, I added 1 1/2 cups of raw honey. The only reason I wait to add my raw honey till the mixture cools, is so that I don’t kill any good bacteria that’s in the raw honey. If you can, it’s best to source raw honey due to it’s healing properties. Stir in your honey, and add some syrup to a bottle for now, and take the rest and put it in ice cube trays, and freeze for later. I froze several trays and should have elderberry syrup for the rest of the winter!
When it comes to the amount you should take, it’s up to you! The maximum I’d let myself take, when sick is 4 tablespoons. On a normal day, when I am feeling well, I take 2-3 tablespoons. For children, 1-2 teaspoons each day is fine. If you have children under 6 months, do not give them elderberry syrup. Their digestive systems are too new, and the syrup can cause irritation. However, if you’re nursing and taking elderberry syrup, it will reach your little one through your milk.
And remember that this is preventative care and does not replace a doctor.
*Children suffering from diabetes or autoimmune disorders should not take elderberry syrup.
- 3 C fresh elderberries (de-stemmed)
- 6 C water
- 1 1/2 C raw honey
- Remove the stems and leaves from berries.
- Wash berries till they turn a deep blue-purple.
- Add your 3 c berries to a pot and add 6 c water.
- Turn stove top on high and get your mixture to a nice rolling boil.
- Once your mixture is at a boil, turn the temperature down to med/low and simmer the berries for a good 30 minutes.
- While simmering, mash berries a few times.
- Strain your mixture, toss berries, and let the syrup cool a bit,
- While still warm, but not hot, add your 1 1/2 c honey and stir.
- Add the warm mixture to your preferred bottle and put the rest in ice cube trays.
- Once your ice cubes are completely frozen, bag them. These cubes, should last 2-3 months.