Saturday, March 2, 2013

Elderberry Syrup... WIN!

Cold and flu season are almost over but this is a GREAT remedy to keep in your fridge all year. It works better than Tamiflu in some studies. See this linkthis one, and this one to learn about the benefits of consuming elderberries. 

Here's a little note: I am NOT a doctor, I DON'T play one on TV, I just like finding holistic and inexpensive ways to treat common illnesses. If you are seriously ill, see a medical professional. 

Okay, back to the fun part... Elderberries are so good for us. Their flowers make wonderful teas and liqueurs. The berries make good wines and syrups. Only use the dark berries, blue or black. The red berries are poisonous if consumed. NEVER eat red berries from elderberry bushes. I buy mine from a local new age shop, the Mystical Heart. You can find them at or if you're not into new age shops. I've also heard that you can find them on Amazon as well, but I've not ever looked there.

I use Crunchy Betty's recipe (here for her post). I don't mind the taste at all... My mom says it tastes worse than prune juice. The thing is, it gets you healthy without all kinds of goodness knows what chemicals. It treats the illness, not the symptoms. Which is a HUGE win in my book. So, just know it isn't going to taste like Hawaiian Punch. :P

Here we go!

Elderberry-Echinacea Syrup Recipe
1/2 c. dried elderberries (or 1 cup fresh)
2 Tbsp dried echincacea (it’s perfectly fine to open an echinacea tea bag and use that)
1 Tbsp dried ginger root (or 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root)
1-2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half (I used ground, about 1/2 tsp)
1-2 Tbsp dried peppermint (my own addition)
Several dried cloves (also, my own addition.. I think I threw in half a dozen or so)
3 c. distilled water
3/4 c. raw honey

Directions:First, sterilize everything you will be using to make your syrup. This is just good practice since you don't want any little bacteria monsters hanging out in your yummy syrup! Boiling all utensils for about 10 minutes will do the trick!

Now, take everything EXCEPT THE HONEY, DON'T PUT THE HONEY IN THE POT!!!! and dump it in your pot, stir and stir. Get your mixture warmed up to a simmer, just let everything go for about 45 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.. Mine didn't take quite 45 minutes, so keep an eye on it. You'll also want to stir occasionally and mash the elderberries against the side of the pot with your spoon to really release their goodness.

While this is going, measure out your honey into a mason jar.

After the liquid is reduced, you'll need to strain it. Use a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth. Crunchy Betty used her french press, clever girl...  You will end up with a dark brownish-red liquid. It looks kind of like prune juice but it smells divine. Do not drink it yet... I hear it is pretty tart at this stage. I strain my juice right over the top of the jar, into a funnel of course, so that the heat from the juice will melt the honey just enough to mix everything.

Once you've strained your liquid off, stir really well into the honey. You don't want your juice and honey separating!

I let it cool for a while then put my lid on and popped it in the fridge. The whole family loves it! Connor says "peease"  as soon as he saw the jar come out of the fridge this morning!

You can store it in the fridge for up to three months. Ours never lasts that long though. :)

Dosage instructions are as follows: 1 teaspoon daily for prevention in kids, 1 teaspoon every couple of hours for illness. 1 tablespoon daily for adult prevention, 1 teaspoon every 2-3 hours for illness.

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