Elderberry is known as nature's own antiviral. Elderberries have been used for thousands of years as both medicine and in food. Some recent studies do indeed show that elderberry is effective at preventing or reducing symptoms of upper respiratory infections. We love collecting it ourselves and making a delicious syrup.
We've adapted this recipe from the The Crafty Herbalist (who offers wonderful workshops & walks to learn about herbal medicine).
Although higher in sugar, it lasts longer as a result. If you're looking for a lower sugar option, see our recipe below - this will last a week or so in the fridge.
200g fresh elderberries
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 cm of fresh ginger sliced
6 cardamom pods
1-2 small sprig of thyme
Unrefined sugar (as per strained liquid)
1. Place all the berries and spices in a saucepan and add 250ml water. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir every now and again.
2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
3. Strain the liquid through a sieve into a bowl. 4. Measure how much liquid you have taken and then add the same amount of sugar (ie if 200ml then add 200g sugar).
4.Put everything into a pan and bring to the boil and then down to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 mins until it starts to thicken.
5. Pour into bottles and label and date.
6. Once open keep in the fridge.
Lower Sugar Elderberry Syrup
200g Fresh elderberries (if you're unable to pick your own, dried elderberries work well - buy from Neals Yard Remedies)
1 tsp cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 thumb of ginger, sliced
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 litre of water 3 tbsp raw local honey
1. Rinse the berries well in a bowl of cold water to remove any dust, dirt etc. Drain.
2. Add the berries to a large saucepan with the spices & water.
3. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 45 - 60 mins until the liquid takes on a deep purple colour and reduced by about 2/3
4. As the syrup cools, stir in the raw honey
5. Once the syrup has completely cooled, strain well using a sieve or muslin cloth over a bowl and then pour into sterilised bottles.
6. Keep in fridge once opened
DOSAGE . We recommend 1/2 - 1 tsp daily preventatively, and 1-2 tsps daily when sniffles appear. Suitable from aged 1 years upwards.