A few spoonfuls of this throughout the day and you wont need sugar to help the medicine go down – it tastes SO delicious! This blend of elderberries, clove, cinnamon, ginger, and honey has everything you need to combat the inevitable cold and flu season.
This year is the first time I’ve been sick in nearly 7 years! You can read about how I avoided getting sick for that long here. I definitely do not miss coughing so much I throw up a little and sniffling so much I have to breath through my mouth. I’m not entirely too sure where I caught this bug, or IF it really even is an infection. I don’t have any coloured mucous… but I have been on a 40 day kundalini yoga sadhana and I had extra mental and emotional stresses pressed against me this past week AND I’d been slacking on my healthy rhythm.
Thankfully, despite all of those wonderful details I just told you about, I have a new favourite ‘go-to’ remedy for this.. and I’m about to share the recipe with you along with how you can forage for elderberries yourself AND how you can store your syrup for long-lasting shelf life.
Why Elderberries WORK!
Elderberries are jam-packed and loaded with nutrients that boost your immune system! These include Vitamins A & C, quercetin, and many other phytonutrients. Wellness Mama made a quote in her post on how to make elderberry syrup about a study conducted on elderberries, they were found to disarm the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells and multiply in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract. This is excellent news!! Because cold and flus are viruses (non-living little robot fuckers), antibiotics or antibacterials do not work on them. Dr.Axe has an awesome page on all of the other things that elderberries do for us – check that out here!
Homemade Elderberry Syrup
What You Need:
- 2/3 cup dried
- 3 1/2 cups of water
- 2 Tablespoons fresh or dried ginger root
- 1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon (the real stuff)
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves or clove powder
- 1 cup raw honey (local, if possible)
What You Do:
- Pour water into medium saucepan or pot and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey yet – we add it in at the end in order to preserve its many medicinal benefits)
- Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
- Using a metal mesh strainer, carefully strain your syrup into another large container and using a masher to squeeze the rest of the precious juices from the berries.
- Allow to cool down for 15 minutes, then add the honey and stir.
- You can keep it simply in a glass bottle or jar in the fridge and it will last anywhere from two weeks to several months. What I recommend is canning it so it lasts much longer! Keep reading to learn how.
Preserving Your Elderberry Syrup.
What You Need:
- 8oz canning jars with new snap lids: Enough to fit the amount of syrup you made. This recipe makes *about* 16oz..but since I usually double or triple the recipe this is just an estimate. You can use bigger or smaller jars, whatever you fancy.
- A deep pot: Just deep enough to fit the jars completely submersed in water plus at least one inch.
- A jar lifter: This makes it SO much easier. If you don’t have one and don’t plan to get one, when it comes time to remove the jars from the water you could carefully scoop or pour the boiling water out of the pot and remove the jars with oven mitts.
What You Do:
- Begin by steralizing the jars and their lids by boiling them in water for 10 minutes. Remove them from the water and fill them full leaving about 1cm of space from the top of the jar. *NOTE* I steralize my jars regardless, but some say you don’t need to as long as you’re going to boil them for longer than 10 minutes. Decide for yourself.
- Place their lids on tight.
- Aim to have the stock pot filled about half way with boiling water. Remove or add some if you need to. The whole idea is that the jars will be complete submersed with an inch of two of water above them.
- Use your canning lifter and place the jars into the boiling water (or temporarily remove from heat and lower the jars in carefully with your hands). Ensure you don’t cram them all together, allow space for them to move around a bit.
- Set a timer for 20-35 minutes, depending on your local altitude. To figure this out, google your cities altitude and see where you’re at on this chart.
- Remove the jars and place them onto a tea towel. Leave them there undisturbed. The jar seals might not snap right away but they will as they sit. If not, you can repeat the process or just store in the fridge and use up.
Foraging For Elderberries
These little gems grow wild all over BC. Here in the Okanagan they are abundant around August and September and I’ve also seen them in the Kootenays this time of year. There are many types of elderberry species found all over the world.
There ARE elderberry look alikes out there – and some are poisonous and can and will kill you if you mistake them. This is just a warning – if you’re planning to forage you need to be in the know on this one. Remember you can always buy dried elderberries.
Zoë and I found some! Most are super high up which is a good thing. It’s important not to pick everything from one area/plant/bush etc when foraging.
There are actually several poisonous elderberry look alikes. This website has a very thorough overview on everything so read it carefully before foraging for your own
Above Photo Credits: Sunflower Press