Monday, February 19, 2018

Elderberry Syrup

Last winter I heard about Elderberry syrup.  Elderberries apparently have medicinal properties to treat flu and cold symptoms.  I haven't had a cold or flu for many years, but I wanted to be prepared in case.  Since I just stated that fact out loud, I hope I didn't jinx myself.  The bottle of syrup I bought last year was quite expensive, but a good start for last winter.   The summer of 2017 I was planning to go out in the country and find elderberries growing near the roadside.  When I was young they grew all around.  We would go out and pick them for jelly.  Some of my relatives would even make elderberry wine.  I also thought I could just grow my own elderberry bushes.   I found out that research was being done on a specific type of elderberry plant called the Sambucis Nigra .  This bush is different from the Common Elderberry that grows along the roadside.  The berries from this plant are extra rich in vitamins A, B and C.  They are high in immune-boosting compounds which may help with getting over illness more quickly.  I found the bush for sale from a plant nursery which would grow in our zone.  It looks a lot like a Japanese Maple and is very pretty.   I may try to grow one at some point.

For now,  I decided to buy the dehydrated organic berries.  Elderberries are very small, and it would take a lot of them to make a pound of dried berries.

The recipe is very simple.  Measure out a cup of dried berries and about four cups of water.  Bring them to a boil.  I also added a half cup of blueberries to the mix because they are good for us too.  Simmer them for 45 minutes and strain out the cooked berries.  I fed these to the birds to see if they like them.  So far no bird has tried them.

When the juice has cooled slightly, just sweeten with unfiltered local honey.  If honey is added to heat, it will kill the antibacterial properties of the honey.  Some recipes I saw put in ginger and turmeric, but I didn't want to mess with the flavor.  This is really tasty and will keep in the refrigerator for three months.  We take a tablespoon a day.  It is preventative and may be a placebo but that's fine with me.  It is no way a substitute for medical care if needed, but it is a little boost.  If we get sick then the instructions say to take a teaspoon every hour.  Hopefully we won't have to find out if that works.

I need to find a bottle which will make it easier to pour out.  Until then, I will use it from this pint jar.

Update:  I found the perfect container.  It's a glass vinegar and oil bottle.  It holds a pint and pours out easily.

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