I knew it would happen!
The moment came this week.
There is something about a week of no responsibilities to cue my body– it’s time to bring on the sneezing, coughing, and aches. It seems to happen every year. Walking around Disney World with a bag full of tissues hoarsely singing “It’s A Small World” is not what I’d call ideal.
This year I decided to go on the defensive.
I’ve found eating real food with plenty of good fats, lots of veggies and fruit, homemade probiotics (such as kombucha and yogurt), and getting enough sleep really do help keep my family healthy and away from frequent sickness. It’s amazing how the body when nourished and cared for works beautifully in the healing and staying well departments.
But, here’s the deal…
We live in a world when even the most well nourished bodies get sick. It happens. I think that’s part of being human, and well, let’s face it, there are many times I don’t get a great amount of sleep (I’m a mom and a bit of an overachiever) and maybe forget to feed myself something other than a mere apple for breakfast and lunch.
As I mentioned before that long trail of wordiness (vacation brain), I went on the defensive this year.
Last year (after family vacation) I learned of a miraculous little liquid called Elderberry Syrup. Have you heard of it? It’s pretty darn amazing. It’s delicious and boosts your immune system, making it ideal for the winter months when colds and the flu abound. Don’t believe me? I know, I may be starting to sound like the local Witch Doctor to some, but trust me this stuff is good.
Elderberry syrup is a proven remedy for preventing and recovering from the flu, colds, excessive mucus, sore throats, and contains large amounts of antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C. Source
See, good stuff!
I started buying elderberry syrup at the health food store. Let me tell you, those bottles of black syrup aren’t cheap. For about 6oz. I would pay $16. Woozers! Between four people taking a tablespoon a day, I just couldn’t afford those bottles for long. Liquid gold! I quickly found making elderberry syrup at home was easy and cheap.
This year, while packing vacation goodies, I was sure to make a batch of this immune-boosting syrup to get the added protection I needed from any cold that may come my way.
And guess what?
This vacation has been a sick-free relaxing week!
Making the syrup only requires a few simple ingredients and can be made in 45 minutes, start to finish. The result is a syrup that’s delicious (so kiddos easily take it), immune-boosting, and can last for a couple of months when stored in the fridge.
I make pint-sized batches at a time and give each of us a tablespoon daily. If a sickness strikes, I give the syrup every 4 hours with a dosage of 1 teaspoon.
Now, that’s my kind of syrup.
Immune-Boosting Elderberry Syrup
- 3/4 cup dried elderberries
- 3 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 cup honey
- Add the berries, water, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon stick to a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the berry mixture to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove from the heat.
- Strain the berries from the juice. I use a cheesecloth and small mesh sieve over a bowl. Push the berries in the strainer down with the back of a wood spoon to remove any extra juice. Stir in the honey. The berry mixture should still be warm, not hot, just slightly warm.
- Now you have the perfect syrup for fighting off the sniffles this season. Keep in the fridge. Take 1 tablespoon daily by spoon or even mix it in a smoothie or with sparkling water.
Can this recipe be canned?
Thank you for your thoughts. I do ingest oils from my company everyday. There are recommendations on the bottle. Regarding medical professionals- check out Prime Meridian clinics, there are several scattered across the U.S.!
You’re welcome. Yes, I know several essential oil companies recommend ingesting, but aromatherapists will advise against this. That’s why I don’t generally recommend it. Thank you for the clinic recommendation.
I’m wondering about Essential Oil; like for the ginger. I know it often is Way less of an amount in cooking, d/t the potency of the oils. Do you have any experience or thoughts with this? I would be using a reputable company with only pure well sourced oils.
Hey Shawndra, No matter which brand, I don’t recommend ingesting essential oils unless advised by a medical professional for a specific reason since they’re so concentrated.
Just a curiosity about the Elderberry syrup. I make it regularly and we take it during the winter months. After a week weeks in the refrigerator it starts like fermenting. The taste remains good but I usually store it in a bottle with a corkscrew cap and it pops like a champagne bottle when I open it. Is it normal?
I’m sorry you’re having issues with the elderberry syrup. That should definitely not be happening. I am not sure why it could be doing that. Elderberry syrup should be consumed within 2 weeks of making it. I would say, try making a smaller batch? Let me know if you have any other questions.
Can you make it in a crockpot
Hey Sharon, I found this recipe: https://gwens-nest.com/elderberry-recipes/
What is the price break down compared to the ones you can buy at the store?
Hey Megan, I’m not sure. That will depend on the sources for the ingredients. My guess is that a bottle of homemade syrup will cost a few dollars to make–maybe $5?–using the amount of ingredients in this recipe. Compared to the store-bought which is $20+ for a tiny bottle.
It should be noted that using freshly collected berries may be dangerous. While mature berries are safe for consumption, the fresh leaves, flowers, bark, young buds, and roots contain a glucoside that, under certain conditions, can produce hydrocyanic acid and may result in cyanide poisoning. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, weakness, or dizziness. Kristin, you’re wise to use dried berries from a reputable company; that is the safest option!
Thank you for sharing, Jenn! I appreciate your wisdom.
we have enjoyed fresh picked elderberries for years, they make a good jam, pie, shortbread type cookie, wine. The stems, leaves, wood are poisonous. its a chore to pick out all the teeny tiny stems but you can see by the comments well worth the effort !!
So I’m making lots of batches of this for friends and family… I did 24 cups of water…. so do I still do the same portions? Like do 3/4 cups 8 times and 8 cups honey etc? That seems like a ton of berries?
Hey Samantha, I want to say yes, but I’ve never tried making that much before.
I’m excited to try this recipe. I started buying pre-made syrup from the store but man is it $$$.
I’m wondering about using fresh ginger instead of ground. I have a large root in my fridge for smoothies and am looking for more ways to use it. Would you recommend fresh and if so how much?
Hey Mandy, I think fresh ginger would be lovely. I would try a 1 inch slice. Enjoy!
What kind of pot would you recommend? Metal or a cast iron pot? Does metal do anything to the ingredients?
Hey Mallory, Stainless or enamel cast iron are my go-to pots. I don’t think it matters :).
Are you using dried or fresh cloves?
Hi Celeste, Dried cloves :).
I have only recently discovered elderberry syrup and mentioned it to my mother. They bought elderberry CONCENTRATE from a wine company (no alcohol in the concentrate). My questions: Do you know whether you receive the same health benefits from the concentrate that the syrup gives and can you make syrup from the concentrate? I could very likely use your recipe if I knew how much liquid you have after cooking/straining the elderberries. Thanks for this recipe!!!
Can your recipe be canned for a longer shelf life?
Could I substitute the 4 cloves for grounded clove? I don’t have whole cloves. Thanks so much!
Hey Jeanne, I believe so. I would use 1/4 teaspoon.
Ok. Just made this and it’s more like flavored water than a syrup. My honey says it’s raw, but now I’m not so sure? I thought for sure my “syrup” would be thicker after adding it, but it’s not. Should I have let it cool to room temp before adding the honey? I added it immediately after straining the berry mixture. Thanks for your help!
Hey Mary, It sounds like you did everything right. This is much more watery than the elderberry syrup from the store. The honey may settle a bit, so you’ll want to shake or stir the jar once a week.
Ok, good to know. Thanks again! I’m excited to add this to my family’s wellness regimen. Have a blessed week. 🙂
I’m just curious as to where you buy your clip-top jars that I see pictured in several DIY recipes? Thank you!
Hey Julia, The jars are called Weck Jars. They are by far my favorite storage jars. They are difficult to find in the US (mainly a European canning jar). Both Crate and Barrel and Amazon sell them: http://amzn.to/1TOudxw and http://www.crateandbarrel.com/search?query=weck%20jars.
I purchased organic dried elderberries from Amazon a couple months ago, and immediately put them into a glass jar with a rubber sealing lid. I am just now making the syrup and I have a question about the distinct odor of the syrup as it’s simmering. It has a very pungent and somewhat “sour” smell. Is that normal? I’ve never used elderberries or any elderberry product, so I’m not sure what it should smell like. Thanks, Kim
Hey Kim, They definitely have a distinct smell, but they shouldn’t smell “off” or repulsive. Which brand of elderberries did you purchase?
It was the Frontier brand. I’m a little scared now to use it, but I will definitely taste it before I decide whether to keep it or toss.
Frontier brand should be good (that’s what I use, too). They have great products and customer service, so if they are bad, you could call them and I bet they would send you a new package. I’m thinking maybe the smell is just a bit different versus rancid berries, but definitely taste a small amount after adding the honey.