After the joy of picking the lacy elder flowers in late spring, comes the anticipation of juicy purple berries, hung heavy on delicate red stems. Elderberries, combined with spices and honey, make an incredible tonic for fall. Warding away the dryness and cold of winter as well as boosting the immune system while protecting against colds and flu.
We pick tons of elderberries and make what seems like vats of this syrup. We take spoonfuls of it daily to strengthen our systems against the onslaught of viruses. It tastes like Christmas in a bottle and warms the body and the spirit.
Decoct 2 parts of fresh (1 part dried) elderberries in 4 parts of water.
Simmer over medium heat in a covered pot for 1 hour.
Strain the liquid and compost the berries.
When slightly cooled add the honey and vanilla.
Decant into the syrup bottle and store in the fridge.
Shake well before taking.
Take 1 T as needed
Elderberries: antioxidant activity, boosts the immune system, affinity for protecting against coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis
Ginger: anti-viral, anti-oxidant, has a very useful function during colds, flu, virus infections, coughs, chronic bronchial problems and low-grade infections of all kinds
Cinnamon: anti-bacterial, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tussive, affinity for respiratory system, warming
Cloves: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, warming, anti-bacterial, analgesic
Honey: antibacterial, soothing, anti-inflammatory, vulnerary
I seriously do not mean to get carried away on elderberries, and I know that I said this before, but these articles about them are pretty sweet. Although we lack black elderberries here, we have blue elderberries. I use them the same way. I have not made syrup yet, just because the juice with sugar or honey is just fine. My elderberry jelly won second place at the Jelly and Jam Competition of the Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival for a few years consecutively (but not first – such an aggravation).
I think second place for elderberry jam is awesome! It sounds like it would be delicious! Do you add any spices to it?
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No. It is just blue elderberry juice, sugar, pectin and a bit of lemon juice. I use packaged pectin so that I do not need to add unripe elderberries or quince or crabapples. I suppose if I knew more about cooking, I would know how to blend the flavors, so would be more comfortable adding quince or crabapples instead of packaged pectin. I actually not my favorite, but everyone else likes it, perhaps because no one else makes it.
Interestingly enough, I have never seen elderberry jam or jelly here either, just homemade syrup and liquor.