Elderberry syrup is a staple to keep in your fridge during the winter months. Whip up a batch of this and Fire Cider, and you’ll be well-stocked for winter! Our recipe was adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s in Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health.
- 4 cups of dried organic elderberries OR 8 cup fresh, ripe organic elderberries
- 8 cups of water for dried elderberries OR ¼ cup of water for fresh elderberry
- 2-3 tablespoons of freshly grated raw organic ginger root
- ½ teaspoon of cloves (whole, dried cloves or ground powder)
- Raw honey, 16-24 ounces
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks
This recipe yields approximately 40 ounces of syrup.
- Fine mesh stainless steel strainer lined with either a cheesecloth or a nut milk bag to strain the berries
- Air-tight wide mouth glass storage containers for the finished elderberry syrup
- Large pot or saucepan
- Combine elderberries and water: Dried elderberry variation: In a saucepan, combine 8 cups of water with 4 cups of dried elderberries. Begin to simmer the mixture. Fresh elderberry variation: In a saucepan, combine 8 cups of berries with ¼ cup of water. Begin to simmer the mixture.
- Add spices: Once the elderberries and water have begun to simmer, add ginger, cinnamon, and clove.
- Continue to simmer: Dried elderberry variation: Continue to simmer the berries until the volume has reduced to about half the original volume. Timing will depend on how high you simmer the mixture. It can take 30-60 minutes. Stir occasionally. As the berries plump up, press them against the pot to squeeze out the juice. We like using a round wood spoon, just be sure you’re okay with berry dye! Fresh elderberry variation: Simmer the berries until they are plump and strain out the pulp (see Strain directions in step 4). Return the liquid to the saucepan and continue to simmer until it is reduced to about half the volume.
- Strain: Once the mixture reduces to about half of the original volume, it is time to strain the ingredients (unless you are doing the fresh elderberry recipe, in which case you strained earlier). Allow the mixture to cool slightly, to a warm temperature. You will be adding honey to the mixture, and the warm temperature will allow the honey to dissolve and not burn.We recommend straining the dried elderberry mixture in the sink. Elderberry is a very beautiful color, but not when it’s a countertop stain! Line your stainless steel strainer with either cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. The liner will prevent pulp from going through the strainer when you squeeze the juice out of the elderberries. Set the strainer on top of your wide mouth glass container or over your saucepan.Gently pour some of the mixture into the lined strainer. Then, press the berries down as much as possible with the wooden spoon. This technique extracts as much liquid as possible. Do this a couple times, until the strainer is fairly dry with berry pulp. Carefully lift and close up the sides of the cheesecloth and squeeze the elderberries one last time. This will dye your hands, so wear gloves! Don’t forget to compost the berry pulp.
- Add honey: Now for the sweet stuff! While your elderberry juice is still warm, stir in the honey. You can add equal parts honey to elderberry juice or ¾ the amount of honey for sugar sensitive folks. The sugars from the honey act as a preservative. If you use the full amount of honey, the syrup will stay good for about three months in the fridge. If you use less honey, drink the syrup within six weeks. Adding lemon will also increase the shelf life. A tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice will do the trick.Vegan options: If you don’t use honey, coconut sugar, agave, maple or brown rice syrup are good substitutes.
- Label and store: Store your syrup in tightly sealed bottles and refrigerate. (We love using tincture bottles and giving them as gifts!) Be sure to label each bottle with the date and use the syrup within three months.
As a preventative measure, sip one teaspoon per day before bed.
If you feel something coming on, the syrup or extract can be taken in small frequent doses of 1 tsp every 2-3 hours to hasten recovery time during the acute stages of illness.
Eating raw elderberries or the plant’s bark, leaves, and roots can be toxic. Only ripe, cooked berries or dried berries are safe to consume. We suggest reaching out to your healthcare professional for any specific health concerns or contraindications.
If you need some elderberry syrup and don’t have time to whip up a batch yourself, we’re here for you! We have Gaia Elderberry Syrup and Dr Appleseeds Wild Elderberry Extract Unsweetened available in our online store. Stock up for winter and order some today.