As winter creeps closer, many of us begin seeking out natural remedies to help us stay healthy during the cold and flu season. And one question we often hear is, “What can I do to ensure my family stays strong and healthy this winter?” Luckily, there are a number of herbs that can help us achieve our winter wellness goals, but one of the most reliable options for boosting our immune system is elderberry. With its proven track record for supporting overall health, elderberry is a smart choice for anyone looking to stay healthy and strong during winters.
Elderberries offer a multitude of health benefits, and there are numerous ways to incorporate them into your daily routine. However, one popular method that has stood the test of time is elderberry syrup. This beloved herbal apothecary staple is renowned for its healthful properties, making it a go-to for many seeking a natural boost to their well-being.
Elderberry Syrup Benefits
For centuries, herbalists worldwide have revered the elder (Sambucus) plant for its potent berries, flowers, and bark. Today, modern research has confirmed what traditional practitioners have always known – that elderberries are a powerhouse of immune-boosting properties. Regular consumption of elderberry supplements can help support the healthy functioning of our immune system, ensuring that we stay strong, healthy, and protected against illness. Elderberry is a remarkable plant ally that can bolster our body’s resilience during the harsh winter months when our immune system is under a great deal of stress. Its potent properties make it an ideal choice for those who want to stay healthy and strong during the cold season. It helps boost immunity.
Elderberries are a versatile fruit that can be consumed in various forms. However, syrup form is particularly popular due to a few compelling reasons. One of the main reasons is practicality. Traditional elderberry syrups often contain raw honey, which acts as a natural preservative for the berries. The sugar content of the syrup, combined with honey’s legendary shelf life, helps to keep the beneficial properties of the elderberries intact for longer periods.
In addition, elderberry syrup is easy to consume and can be enjoyed as a pleasant tasting treat. It can be added to beverages or taken directly as a supplement, making it a convenient way to incorporate the many health benefits of elderberries into your daily routine.
Another reason why elderberry syrup has become a popular choice among people is due to its delicious taste! The rich and robust flavor of elderberries is truly exceptional when combined with a touch of sweetness. This is why different variations of elderberry syrup are not only taken for its health benefits but also as a delightful topping for breakfast foods like pancakes, oatmeal or even desserts. So, if you want to indulge in a healthy and flavorful treat, elderberry syrup is an excellent choice!
When it comes to wellness-centric syrup recipes, many traditional ones call for the addition of high-proof alcohol to prolong their shelf life. Not only does this added preservative allow you to savor your syrup throughout the season, but it also helps to mask the liquor’s taste with the sweetness of honey or other natural sweeteners. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of these homemade remedies without worrying about their freshness or potency.
Classic Elderberry Syrup Recipe
Here is a quick video that shows how to make the immunity boosting syrup at home. We have also explained the recipe in detail below it.
This recipe yields approximately 3 cups of syrup without alcohol and 4 cups with alcohol. The active time required to prepare this syrup is about 1 hour.
List of Ingredients
- 2 cups of dried elderberries that are organic
- 4 cups of cold water (it’s best to use distilled, purified, or spring water)
- 2-3 teaspoons of organic dried ginger root
- 1 sweet cinnamon stick that is organic
- 1 cup of local raw honey (or you can use organic maple syrup or agave if vegan/infant-friendly; if you double the sweetener, it can increase the shelf life)
- 1 cup of either vodka or brandy (optional if you want to increase the shelf life)
- To prepare, combine a mixture of berries and herbs with cold water in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Then, reduce the heat and let the herbs simmer for around 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove the pot from heat and let the mixture steep for one hour.
- Once done, strain the mixture using a funnel covered with undyed cotton muslin or doubled cheesecloth. Be careful when squeezing out the liquid as it may still be hot.
- Discard the used herbs in compost.
- After the liquid has cooled to slightly above room temperature, add honey and stir until fully combined.
- If you’re using vodka or brandy, add it in at this point and stir until well mixed. Finally, pour the mixture into sterilized glass bottles and store them in the fridge.
Ensure that you incorporate honey into the mixture in a proportion of no less than half of the entire liquid volume after it has been simmered. The ratio may be adjusted slightly, but it is important to have adequate preservative (honey) to prevent the syrup from spoiling. For instance, if you have 2 cups of elderberry decoction remaining, you should add at least 1 cup of honey.
This recipe can be easily scaled up if you wish to prepare a large quantity for storage or gifting (glass pantry jars and amber bottles are excellent options!).
Important Questions on How to Make Elderberry Syrup?
1. Shall I use Fresh or Dried Elderberries?
Whether you have fresh or dried elderberries on hand, you can easily make a delicious syrup. Dried elderberries are a popular choice, as they are readily available and can be stored for longer periods. However, if you prefer using fresh berries, simply use twice the amount of dried berries called for in your recipe. This simple adjustment will ensure that your elderberry syrup is bursting with flavor and packed with essential nutrients. So go ahead, experiment with both fresh and dried elderberries and enjoy the many benefits they have to offer!
2. How to Make Elderberries Syrup Shelf Stable?
If you’re looking for a syrup that can sit out at room temperature for an extended period of time without going bad, you’ll need something with extra sugar or alcohol, or both. This is because these ingredients help to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. However, we understand that not everyone wants to consume high levels of sugar or alcohol. That’s why we’ve created a family-friendly syrup that uses less sugar, contains no alcohol and is designed to be stored in the refrigerator. If you do require a syrup with a longer shelf life, you can double the honey in our recipe or add a splash of optional alcohol. By doing so, you’ll be able to create a syrup that can be stored safely at room temperature for an extended period of time. So whether you’re looking for a syrup to enjoy with your family or one that can be stored for longer periods, we’ve got you covered.
3. Is Elderberries Syrup safe for Children and Babies?
Honey is not only a delicious sweetener but also a natural preservative with several healthful properties. That’s why it’s my preferred choice for my herbal syrups. However, it’s important to note that honey is not recommended for children under the age of one due to a rare condition called infantile botulism, which can be scary and dangerous. So, if you plan on sharing your syrup with a little one, it’s best to substitute either sugar or maple syrup for the honey and store it in the refrigerator. This ensures the safety and well-being of your little one while still enjoying the benefits of a homemade herbal syrup.
4. What Should the Elderberries Syrup Cooked in?
When making your syrup, it’s important to select the right pan. Opt for a ceramic, glass or non-reactive pan that won’t off-gas harmful chemicals. Synthetic nonstick coatings can release toxic substances when heated, so it’s best to avoid them altogether when preparing syrup. In fact, we strongly advise against using them for any cooking purposes. Choose a safer, non-toxic option for your syrup and all your cooking needs.
5. What Kind of Water Shall I use While Preparing the Elderberries Syrup?
Your herbal product is a reflection of the ingredients you use, and that includes the water. To ensure the highest quality finished product, it’s crucial to start with the best possible water. We recommend using distilled water or a high-quality spring or purified water, depending on your location and availability. Remember, the water you use affects the overall effectiveness and taste of your herbal creation, so choose wisely.
6. Can I add more Herbs in my Elderberries Syrup?
For those who are new to making herbal products for their home, it’s common to struggle with being too rigid in their approach. It’s important to remember that just like there are countless ways to make spaghetti sauce, each with its own unique blend of ingredients, the same goes for herbal syrups. Don’t be afraid to experiment and get creative with your flavors! Add a hint of vanilla or a touch of cardamom – the possibilities are endless. In fact, these little improvisations can often add an extra layer of goodness to your syrup. So go ahead, give yourself permission to play and let your imagination run wild.
Hope you have enjoyed learning the details and process of making the immunity boosting Elderberry Syrup. Please let us know what you think in the comments section below. Also share this piece of information with your friends and family on social media.