As we head into cold and flu season, it is helpful to integrate immune boosters into your self care routine. Besides my favorite adaptogens, I enjoy taking a daily dose of elderberry syrup. While the stuff from my local natural food store is delicious, I have been wanting to make my own, so I recently gave it a try. It was an easy process (total time from start to finish was a little over hours), and the final product is delicious! You can easily make your own, from just a few ingredients. I purchased the high quality herbs and spices from Mountain Rose Herbs and Anima Mundi Herbal Apothecary, and the honey from a local market.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
2 cups dried organic elderberries
4 cups filtered or distilled water
1 organic fair trade cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons organic ginger powder (or 1 tablespoon fresh, grated)
1/4 cup organic eleuthero powder (optional)
1 organic fair trade vanilla bean (optional, but delicious, but expensive)
1 cup honey (raw, local is the best)*
Place the water, elderberries, and spices in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for one hour. Strain the mixture, through cheesecloth place inside a strainer, pressing the berries to release their liquid, into a large bowl or glass measuring cup. Add honey, and stir until dissolved. Pour into sterilized bottles, and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
This recipe makes about three cups of syrup. To give your immune system a boost, take one tablespoon of syrup each day. There are many other ways to enjoy your syrup – The Wild Irish Foragers and Preservers have several suggestions. Here's a simple mocktail recipe that I like to make:
Sparkling Eldeberry Tonic Recipe
Mix 1 part elderberry syrup with 7 parts sparkling water. Add the juice of half a lemon, if you'd like, and decorate with some lemon peel. à votre santé!
*Note: Because of the raw honey in this recipe, please don't give to children under one year of age. Raw honey contains botulism spores that can colonize in infants' digestive tracts, which can be deadly.