Elderberry Syrup
Yield: ~1¾ cups
This easy-to-make syrup is my go-to remedy for fighting colds and flu, and it's less expensive (and better tasting!) than conventional medicines. For best relief, take it at first sign of a virus. A daily dose may also be taken as a preventative measure.


Ingredients

  • ½ cup (2 ounces/55 grams) dried elderberries (see notes for buying)
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) water
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (optional but recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon dried whole cloves (optional; I measure a slightly scant teaspoon)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  •  ½ cup (160 grams) raw honey

Instructions

  1. Bring the elderberries, water and spices to a boil in a medium-size pot, and then lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer, uncovered, until the water has been reduced by half, about 20-25 minutes. (Tip: For those who have trouble eyeballing how much liquid has reduced, this is a great time to use a scale. Simply weigh the full pot before boiling and then again when you’re getting close. Look for the weight to be 12 ounces less than the starting point. If not using a scale, observe the starting level of the liquid in the pot, but don’t worry about being exact. It won’t matter if you’re a little off either way.)
  2. Pour the cooked berries and liquid through a fine mesh strainer and into a clean bowl to remove the berry skins and spices. To extract all of the juice, press the berries into the side of the strainer with the back of a spoon. Discard the remaining pulp.
  3. To preserve the benefits of the honey, allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, and then stir in the honey, whisking to fully blend. Transfer the syrup to a jar and refrigerate. The syrup will keep for approximately 3 weeks, and it may be frozen if you don’t think you’ll use it all within that timeframe.
  4. Suggested Use: Take 1-2 teaspoons every 3-4 hours at the first sign of a cold or virus. May also take a 1-2 teaspoons once a day as a preventative measure.


Notes

Even though you reduce the mixture, it will not be quite as thick as most store-bought syrups, which tend to contain more sugar, thickeners and/or preservatives.
For a vegan recipe, you could substitute pure maple syrup or a natural sweetener of choice. Alternatively, you could simply omit and end up with a juice. Though lacking sweetness, the juice will still provide the medicinal benefits afforded by the elderberries.
I purchase the dried elderberries in bulk at Lemon Street Market. If you aren’t local and cannot easily find them at a store near you, you can find them online. Click here for a link to the brand I purchase (Frontier Co-op). When purchasing online, you will likely have to purchase a 1-pound bag, but the dried berries have a shelf life of one year when stored in a cool, dry place.
You may cut this recipe in half or double it if you’d like to give some away. Just be aware that the simmer time will be longer for a bigger batch and vice-versa.


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