The elderberries are ripe! I spent much of the day harvesting and medicine making. Elderberry syrup is my go to for colds, coughs, and the flu. When my son was little and suffered from frequent illness and asthma, elderberry was one of the plants we worked with to build his immune system and heal his respiratory system. Read the full story here.
We head for the Elderberry Syrup at the first sign of a scratchy throat. It works wonders!
Here is my recipe (even though I am not much of a recipe gal). I change my recipe almost every time I make it! 6 cups fresh elderberries (stems & green berries mostly removed)* or 3 cups dried elderberries** 6 cups water (chlorine free) 2 heaping tablespoons cinnamon chips or 2 cinnamon sticks 6 whole cloves 3 heaping tablespoon star anise 4 whole cardamom pods 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 6 tablespoon rose hips 1 tablespoon fresh grated or dried ginger 1 cup fresh local honey
*100% positive plant ID is required for wildcrafting! You want the black (Sambucus canadensis) or blue (Sambucus cerulea).
**If you do not have time to process the elderberries the day you pick them you can pop them in the freezer and work with them when you're ready. You can also substitute 3 cups dried elderberries for the fresh.
Add elderberries & water to large stock pot.
Squish the berries with the flat bottom of a cup.
Add all other herbs, mix and bring to soft boil.
Turn down to simmer and reduce by half (it took my mixture about 1.5 hours).
Turn off heat and let cool until it reaches a temperature you can handle.
Use a funnel and cheese cloth to filter the mixture into a juice jar. Be sure to squeeze out the elderberries (and compost the pulp)!
Return to the pan and add honey. Stir until dissolved. No need to turn the heat on in this step. Add 1 cup honey. Honey is a preservative, makes it sweet, and contains an abundance of healing properties, too. Then, freeze the syrup in little ice cubes for future use.
To serve eat frozen, add to hot water, or just let one ice cube melt and enjoy!
The syrup lasts about 2 weeks in the fridge. If you would like it to last longer add 1/2 cup brandy as a preservative. It will last 1 month in the fridge. Dose about 1 tablespoon per day as a tonic increased to 3 times per day when needed. This syrup is delicious but a word of caution...do not drink to much as part of elderberries properties is in high doses it can be a purgative. So can cause diarrhea and/or vomiting. Both of which I learned the hard way.
*This is not medical advice. I am not a doctor but instead a mother who raised her children using herbal remedies.