I’ve been sniffly for the past few weeks. Which has been kind of yucky and kind of uncomfortable but also a marker of the season and a good reminder to take a few proactive steps to combat the worst of the season’s germs. I’ll be scheduling a flu shot for myself to stay on the safe side, but I also mixed up a batch of immunity boosting elderberry syrup. We made this batch from scratch early on a Thursday morning while Silas slept and Faye could flex her berry smashing muscles.
I stick to a fairly basic recipe: just dried elderberries, water, a few cloves, and a cinnamon stick, plus wildflower honey. Clean brown amber bottles are a nice choice for bottling up the syrup, but anything sterilized will do. I keep the bottle in the refrigerator and try to remember to take a daily teaspoonful for the duration of the fall and winter months. This year, Faye’s finding the results a bit too treacly for her liking, but stirred into morning oatmeal or smoothies or other yummy things, she gets the benefit of the berries without suffering through a spoonful.
adapted from Mountain Rose Herbals
4 cups cold water
2 cups of dried elderberries
1 cinnamon stick
local honey (~1 pound)
Combine the berries and spices with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the heat and mash berries with the back of a wooden spoon. Strain over a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth (or, in a pinch, a nut bag you don’t mind staining a bit). Measure the juices and combine with an equal amount of honey (for this recipe that will be approximately a pound of honey, but the exact amount will depend on how much you reduce the juices while cooking.) Bottle in a sterile dark glass bottle. The syrup should last through the winter (~3-6 months) if kept refrigerated. (Needless to say, this recipe has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration!)
For more immunity boosting goodness, try fire cider.