Back to school time is always a signal in my household to start stocking up on immune-boosting remedies for the upcoming cold and flu season. Here’s a family favorite: Homemade Elderberry Syrup.
As soon as summer begins to wane and fall is around the corner, I know that it is time to start restocking my arsenal of remedies to keep my family healthy during cold and flu season. This year when I was harvesting my elderberries from my beloved tree, I realized that I had never actually shared a post on how I make elderberry syrup. I learned how to make this years ago from an herbalist at a women’s gathering. So here it is. It’s super easy. It’s fun to make. It tastes amazing. And it works.
Elderberries have long been used in syrups and elixirs to fight off colds and flu, to boost the immune system, and to stay healthy during the cold winter months. They are rich in flavonoids which are natural compounds with antioxidant qualities that protects cells against damage or infections. Elderberry also contains vitamin A, B, significant amounts of vitamin C and amino-acids. All these nutrients can help you stay healthy and prevent diseases, by boosting your immune system.
About 10 years ago, I planted an elderberry tree in my backyard. Every year that same beautiful tree gives me loads of elderberries to make medicine with. Check out my harvest this year:
HOW TO MAKE ELDERBERRY SYRUP AT HOME
Years ago, I used to buy elderberry syrup at the health food store. But with the amount my family goes through in the winter, it made more sense to make it myself. I am fortunate to have fresh elderberries available to me every year. You can easily make this with dried elderberries as well.
I like to add a bit of my favorite winter time spices: ginger and cinnamon. Both add warmth and immune-boosting properties to this healing elixir. I use nutrient-dense raw honey to sweeten it once it is cooked.Print
Elderberry Syrup: A Natural Cold and Flu Remedy
- 2 cups fresh elderberries OR 1 cup dried elderberries (where to buy dried elderberries)
- 2 and 1/2 cups water for fresh berries and 4 cups water for dried berries
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 3 rounds
- 1 cup raw honey (like this)
- Combine elderberries, water, cinnamon, and ginger in a large pot and bring to a boil. (DO NOT ADD HONEY!) Reduce heat and allow to simmer (uncovered) for 35-45 minutes, or until mixture reduces by about almost half.
- Strain through a strainer or sieve into a clean glass container. Allow to cool until lukewarm.
- Once mixture has cooled, stir in raw honey.
- Store in airtight jar in fridge for up to a month. Or you can freeze in smaller batches to use throughout the winter. **see note
When freezing my elderberry syrup, I freeze it in LARGE ICE CUBE TRAYS before I add the honey. I defrost a small ice cube and add honey later.
HOW TO USE:
Suggested use for elderberry syrup is 1 Tablespoon for big humans daily and 1 teaspoon for small humans daily throughout cold and flu season to boost immunity. It is recommended to take occasional breaks for a few days.
During colds or sick times, take several doses per day until feeling better.
- Drizzle over grain free waffles or pancakes. It’s delish!
- Use it as a vehicle for cod liver oil (another fabulous immune booster!) My little one loves it this way.
- Add a TBS to sparkling water for an immune-boosting soda
- Drizzle (I just really like that word!) over raw milk yogurt.
Ready for cold and flu season? Be sure to check out my recipe for FIRE CIDER as well. It will kick the pants off of any bugs trying to get you sick.
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photo: depositphoto @ daffodil
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When freezing, what do you store it in?
I freeze it in small little glass jars – so I can take it out in small batches as needed.
Help!! I reduced this by more than half on accident, leaving me with less than 1 cup. Should I remake the recipe? Or should I put less honey or same amount of honey.
Katja Heino says
You can just add a bit more water to it so it is not so concentrated and will go a bit further for you. 🙂
Thank you! I’ve got a sick 15 month old on my hands and need something for him as well as soemthing to prevent us from getting his bug.
How much does this recipe make?
Katja Heino says
Hi, Michelle! It all depends on if you use dried or fresh berries and how much it reduces. Most of the time, I end up with about 2 cups of elderberry syrup. HOpe that helps. 🙂
When freezing and defrosting, do you warm up the syrup stove top and THEN add honey? Or add honey after it’s been defrosted?
And to defrost do you just move to fridge or leave out on counter?
Once it’s been defrosted and honey has been added, how long should it last in the fridge?
Katja Heino says
I defrost the elderberry syrup on the counter in a jar. Then I place the jar in a bowl of hot water to warm it slightly so the honey will dissolve more easily. Once I’ve added the honey, I store in fridge. It lasts about 2 weeks if you use a clean spoon and don’t double dip. Hope that helps. 🙂
Instead of straining, can I blend everything in a high powered blender? Would that effect it in a negative way?
Excluding the cinnamon sticks
Katja Heino says
I would not do that. You want to strain the plant matter out so you just end up with the liquid syrup. The plant matter will make your syrup spoil a lot faster.