When Life Gives You Elderberries…

The last week has been a bit rough with a cold/fever/achy thing being passed around the family. Luckily I didn’t get it until the tail end (and it passed quickly!) so I could take care of checking temperatures, sponging foreheads, massaging achy legs and reading chapter after chapter of a good read-aloud book, even by candlelight through a power outage.

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It so happens that just a couple of weeks ago my youngest daughter and I were reading up on elderberries after we found a package of them in the back of a cupboard. The homeschool teacher in me demanded that we study *why* said elderberries are often made into syrup and taken to boost the immune system before and during illnesses. Here were our findings:

Elderberries are

  • super high in antioxidants
  • improve heart health
  • help lower cholesterol
  • boost the immune system
  • beneficial in fighting off coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections

Maybe you’ve seen elderberry syrup in the store. It can be a bit pricey, if I do say so myself. We purchased the dry berries, and with a very minimal time commitment made enough syrup to last us and some friends through the entire winter! Here is my best source for high quality elderberries: Bulk Herb Store. Shoshanna carries only the best, and I recommend her products happily!

So now, for the recipe…. I like this one from Katie over at Wellness Mama:

A simple elderberry syrup recipe made with dried elderberries, honey and herbs for an immune boosting and delicious syrup. Can be used medicinally or on homemade pancakes or waffles.
Serves: 1 quart
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup dried black elderberries (about 3 ounces)
  • 3½ cups of water
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh or dried ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey (we get from our farmer’s market or Trader Joe’s)
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Instructions
  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey!)
  2. 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. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  3. Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well.
  4. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a quart sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  5. Ta Da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.
  6. Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

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Since it tastes amazing, everyone in my family happily enjoys a spoonful every now and again. It has completely replaced cough medicine in our cupboards. My other favorite natural supplements to help fight off the seasonal illnesses are Xfactor vitamins and Ease Capsules. If you are into health and wellness, hop over and check out these ingredients! You’ll thank me later.

Until next time, stay well!

Jill

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