Easy Elderberry Syrup Recipe
As the summer season starts to slowly slip away one of the things I start to think about and prepare for is cold and flu season. Luckily with homeschooling, we don’t deal with nearly as much exposure as many families do, but we still try to stay prepared. And if you do have a child in a conventional school setting it’s even more important to stay ready when the viruses start appearing! Elderberry syrup is one of the things in our first line of defense for any virus that we are exposed to. This recipe is easy to make and can be made safe for the whole family.
Elderberries (sambucus nigra) are a big hitter when it comes to immune-boosting. They are antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, can help as a decongestant, and are loaded with antioxidants. If you are into the science of things, go here to check out all the fun, in-depth info on the elderberry plant! Be aware that the seeds, stems, and leaves contain trace amounts of cyanide, similar to that in apple seeds, but heating the berries removes that and makes them safe to consume. If using fresh berries always make sure to remove the berries from the stem (freezing them in a sealed bag and then knocking them on a counter can make this task easier).
There have been studies done that show elderberry syrup to be an effective treatment for reducing the severity and duration of the flu and colds as well as helping to prevent them if taken before exposure. For more on those studies click here (take or leave the comment about the flu shot based on your beliefs. We do not receive the flu shot in our family).
- 5 cups distilled water I don't like a super thick syrup, if you prefer more of a syrup consistency reduce the amount of water to 4 cups.
- 1 1/2 cups dried elderberries If using fresh elderberries, double the amount.
- 1 2" piece of ginger, sliced in 1/2" slices, skin on. Can sub 1 tbsp ginger granules if you don't have fresh on hand.
- 1 cinnamon sticks
- 5-6 cloves of fresh garlic, roughly chopped optional
- 6-8 whole cloves optional
- 1 cup local raw honey If making this syrup for an infant under the age of one year do not use honey. Replace the honey with maple syrup or organic cane sugar.
- Add all the ingredients EXCEPT the honey to a medium/large stainless steel pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or until the liquid has reduced to about 1/2 to 2/3 of the original amount.
- Remove from heat and let sit for about an hour until it is cool enough to handle.
- Strain the mixture using a funnel or colander lined with cheesecloth over a glass bowl. Gently mash the berries with a wooden spoon to squeeze out all the good stuff. Discard used herbs however you choose.
- Once the mixture has cooled to just above room temperature mix in the honey (or maple syrup or organic cane sugar if subbing those for the honey). Do not add the honey until the mixture has cooled or you will kill off all the beneficial properties of the honey. Stir well.
- Once the honey is well mixed pour your elderberry syrup into mason jars or other glass containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 months.
I love the sweeter flavor of fresh elderberries, but I know they can be hard to find. Hopefully I will have my own bushes someday! I always keep dried ones on hand in case I need to whip up this recipe quickly when a sore throat first starts or we think we have been exposed to something. I get my dried elderberries from my Frontier wholesale co-op, which you can learn more about here.
Have you used elderberry syrup before? Have you made it yourself? If you try making my easy elderberry syrup recipe please make sure to come back and let me know what you think!
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Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor or healthcare professional before trying any new treatments or supplements. I am neither of those. Everything shared here is what we have used and experienced with our family, but may not necessarily be right for you or your family. I cannot be held responsible for any choices you make in regards to the health and wellness of yourself or your family.