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  • Elderberry Syrup Recipe

    March 12, 2024 3 min read 1 Comment

    It's the end of winter here in Oregon with the first day of spring a week away! Today we planted a future forest of elderberries. We have Adams & York varieties which we are planting together because they will help pollinate each other, making an abundance of berries at the end of summer.

    You can plant along with us or wild harvest one of the most wonderful plants for colds and flus!  At the end of every summer the I get this urge that feels intuitive with the season to gather and create herbal medicine for the colder months ahead.  I make a large batch of elderberry tincture, syrup and even elderberry gummies for the kids to last us till next summer's harvest. 

     We are in zone 8 and our berries here in Oregon are ripe in September. They are enticingly beautiful, but do not eat the berries fresh. The seeds will cause upset stomach and induce vomiting. This happened to our toddler once when I wasn't looking. The nausea set in quite fast and she threw up, then was immediately better thankfully. Don't let this scare you away from a wonderful plant medicine because the cyanogenic glycosides fully break down in the cooking process causing them to not be poisonous.  Elderberry is a gentle remedy for the flu, coughs and colds. This remedy is deeply restoring and nourishing to your immunity.

    After you plant your bare root elderberry plant, elderflowers will appear in late spring. Their lacy faces are medicinal as well as beautiful & fragrant. You can harvest the flowers and dry them for tea or leave them be and at the end of summer they'll be ripe deep purple berries. 

     After many wild harvests I've found the best method for harvesting is to freeze the berry bunches in a bag and then when I'm ready to make my syrup I shake the bag till all the berries have fallen off the stems. 


    Elderberry Syrup
    In a saucepan add 1 cup elderberries (fresh, frozen or dried) with 3 cups water
    Grate about a thumb size of fresh ginger
    couple dashes of cinnamon
    ½ cup elderflowers 
    1/3 cup dried rose-hips
    If you only have elderberries that's totally okay and you'll still make an excellent syrup. I like to add these other herbs in when I have them!
    Cover and bring to a simmer, stirring, never boiling. Simmer down till the water has evaporated by half. You've just made a decoction!
    Strain out with a fine sieve or cheese cloth into a bowl with a spout. I like to use a large glass measuring cup that has a handle and spout. While the elderberry decoction is still warm add in (warmed) raw honey.
    Add the same amount of honey as liquid you have. So if there’s 1 1/2 cups of elderberry decoction, add 1 1/2 cups of honey and shake till combined. I add less honey for a more mild sweetness and it's still plenty thick.  Once cooled your syrup will thicken.
    Lastly, I add elderberry tincture to make your syrup shelf stable. To make a syrup shelf stable you want the total syrup to be 25% alcohol. So if the total syrup in your jar for example is 600ml then add 150ml of tincture. Keep syrup refrigerated if you didn’t add the tincture. Elderberry syrup with the tincture added is shelf stable, without the tincture make sure to keep it in the fridge and use it up within a couple months.
    Take 1 tsp every hour when cold/flu is present. 1 tsp a day to keep colds at bay...
    This information is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. 
    If you'd like me to share additional elderberry recipes for a tincture, fever tea with elderflowers or gummy bears let me know!
    with love, Laura

    1 Response

    Cindy Preusser
    Cindy Preusser

    March 18, 2024

    I made tinture with my berries in the fall and still have the seeds in the jars. I want to strain now. Will it still be safe to use?

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