Turning elderberries into an immune-boosting syrup is a simple and effective way to enjoy their benefits. Get five more great elder recipes in this post, too!
Elderberry syrup is one of the most common ways to enjoy the benefits of this cold and flu season wonder herb, and a quick online search will turn up a plethora of recipes to use.
It’s convenient, effective, and typically pleasing to even picky children thanks to the boost of sweetness from sugar or honey.
Elderberry, as you may recall from the last post, is a wonderful anti-viral and immune-stimulating herb that can be taken both as a preventative and as a treatment for colds and flu. While it is wonderful in a syrup on its own, I like to make ours with two additional herbs to give it some extra oomph.
Like typical elderberry syrups, this is very simple to make and is a great supplement to have on hand all through the fall and winter.
Along with the elderberries, I like to add astragalus root and ginger root to our syrup. Astragalus is a wonderful adaptogen, helping the body handle stress, and also helps strengthen the respiratory system. Ginger offers excellent anti-inflammatory compounds that promote health and wellness.
The syrup begins first as a very strong decoction, which is an herbal preparation made by soaking and then boiling tough plant material like roots, bark, and whole dried berries. This process also ensures that the nauseating and toxic compounds found in raw elderberries are neutralized.
Once the plant material is strained, the liquid decoction is then sweetened and can be thickened according to your preference by additional cooking. This is really a simple process that anyone can do!
Elderberry Plus Syrup
Elderberries, astragalus root, and ginger root soaking
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- 70 grams dried elderberries*
- 15 grams dried astragalus root pieces*
- 15 grams dried ginger root pieces*
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups whole cane sugar (like these brands) or honey
Reduced decoction and herbs after cooking
- Place dried herbs in a medium saucepan with the 4 cups of water to soak for 30-60 minutes if time permits.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then gently boil until the water is reduced by half, about 30 minutes.
- Allow the mixture to cool, then strain through a metal sieve with a lint-free cloth laid inside. Gather up the corners of the cloth and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. You should have about 2 cups of elderberry decoction.
- To sweeten, there are various popular methods, and any are fine. Here are two to try: you can combine the warm decoction with equal parts honey (local, raw honey is great) for a thin syrup, or you can add whole cane sugar to the decoction and boil again for about 10 minutes for a thicker syrup. I typically add about 1 1/2 cups whole cane sugar and boil so the syrup is thicker.
- Store the syrup the refrigerator.
Straining the herbs from the decoction
Dosing elderberry syrup is very flexible since it is really a food product. As a preventative dose, I give my little ones about 1 teaspoon a day. During sickness, that could be tripled. Adults can certainly take closer to 1 tablespoon a day if preferred as a preventative dose.
You can also mix the elderberry syrup into teas and other beverages, pour it on pancakes, waffles, and french toast, or drizzle it over ice cream.
I know, I know, eating it on ice cream kind of defeats the purpose of taking it for immune boosting purposes, but it might make you feel better when you’re sneaking sweets at night after the littles are in bed, right?
5 More Elder Recipes
If you’re looking for more ways to use both elderberries and elderflower, be sure to look through these additional recipes!
- Vintage Remedies offers a clever way to turn elderberry syrup into a fun solid treat perfect for children with these Elderberry Gumdrops.
- Elderflower Fritters are an old-fashioned treat that could be made a little less indulgent by skipping the powdered sugar.
- When the weather is hot, these Lemon Elderflower Popsicles would make for a perfect, immune-boosting cool-down.
- Elderberry Jam is another very classic elderberry preparation. This one is made without any additional sugar, too!
- Elderflower Cordial seems to be a very British preparation for elderflowers, but it also looks refreshing and delicious! This is definitely on my list to try in the summer.
Don’t forget to get your own free printable herb card all about elder this month! Details are in the previous post.