This elderberry syrup recipe is a great way to keep your family healthy and happy while saving pennies too!
Elderberries (also know as sambucus or sambucol) have long been used in folk medicine to prevent and treat the symptoms of the common cold and flu. These tiny purple-blue berries are rich in anti-oxidant flavinoids and anti-inflammatory anthocyanin. Even modern studies have proved the efficacy of elderberry extract. (source)
I first fell in love with elderberry syrup when I discovered that my children were more likely to take their fermented cod liver oil when given with this dark sweet liquid. I bought several bottles before I realized I could simply make it myself.
Not only is homemade elderberry syrup easy-peasy and scrumptious, but you also get to control exactly what goes in it.
This means you can avoid the junk in many popular brands including high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and ‘natural’ flavoring. Once you taste this stuff you will really wonder why it could possibly need additional flavoring!
This recipe is made with fresh ginger – used in Chinese medicine to warm and protect the digestion as well as fend off colds. Cinnamon is an immune booster that helps to resolve pain. Raw honey (which balances the extreme tartness of the berries) contains micro-nutrients and enzymes that give your body extra support as well. You can read about the benefits of raw honey here.
Take 1-2 teaspoons daily during cold and flu season (taking an occasional break for a day or two), increasing as needed if you start to feel rundown.
While it’s great on a spoon, we also like to drizzle elderberry syrup over french toast or swirl it into homemade yogurt.
Elderberry syrup recipe ingredients
- 1 cup dried elderberries* – find dried elderberries here
- 4 cups filtered water
- 4 quarter-inch slices of fresh ginger
- 2 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 1 cup, raw honey – find raw honey here
Elderberry syrup recipe method
- Add all ingredients except for the honey into a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to medium.
- Continue simmering for 30-45 minutes until the liquid is reduced to half.
- Before the liquid cools, strain it through a fine mesh strainer.
- Allow the liquid to cool to about 118F (to preserve the enzymes in the raw honey), and gently combine the warm reduced berry liquid with the raw honey.
- Store in a jar in the fridge for a few weeks. For longer storage, freeze into ice cube trays to defrost for later use.
*If you are lucky enough to have elderberries growing wild near you, go on an elderberry picking expedition so you can use fresh berries for this elderberry syrup recipe. Remove the berries from the stems, and prepare as above, using half of the filtered water.
Here in Southern California, wild elderberries are in season in later summer and bushy trees can be found throughout the canyons and mountains. As with any foraging, be sure to properly identify your plant before ingesting.
Don’t have time to make your own? I love this elderberry syrup just as much as the homemade stuff.