Thursday, October 17, 2013

Making Elderberry Syrup

Two of my friends gave me some elderberries, yes score. Now I can make some syrup, and all I have to do is give them some. Elderberries are very small, so it is recommended that you freeze them, and then just shake them off. The elderberries sat in the freezer for a month, a friend of mine said I could use her canning materials for some. We sat for two hours getting all the elderberries off the branches. So, folks the freezing method does not work so well, unless maybe you just froze them over night.

I told her next time someone offers me free elderberries I think I'll pass, and just buy them dry. She is so great, she said no take them, and try hanging them to dry. So, glad I have an older friend who is full of wisdom, and looked at the day as a learning experience rather than as I did, a wasted day.

There were a lot of green berries in the mix along with small twigs. I attempted to pick them out, but after 15 minutes and no real change in the batch, I surrendered. My friend was out in her garden, I went to her and told her it isn't going to work. She suggested that we dry them, and meanwhile I said we could use the dried berries I purchased. So, back in the kitchen to finally get some syrup going.

The recipe states that you have to bring the mixture to a boil, and than simmer until the liquid is half. Well, first off we had to use two pots because we had so much. She had others over and took them some food, and went to visit while I baby sat the brew. It seemed like forever, and the liquid was still the same, more frustration. Finally we felt it was half the liquid, and to our dismay we only had a quart, we prepared to make 8 pints. We decided we would get together again, and brew some more feeling there was more to be extracted.

We got together again, boiled some more brew, agreeing that there were so many berries it was hard to tell if  the liquid was truly simmered to half. Now we added the honey and went to canning. This was the second time I had canned, and she left me alone to do it, I had a blastttt!!!!!

We turned out 9 pints, canning them allows a shelf life of a year. With the recipe below you can make a pint which will keep in the fridge for two weeks.

Elderberry Syrup

1/2 cup elderberries if using frozen 1 cup
1 cinnamon stick
5  cloves
1 Tbsp ginger
2 cups filtered water
1 cup honey

Add all ingredients accept the honey, and boil. Simmer covered, we left it uncovered, until liquid has reduced to 1/2. Strain, and add honey, we did not want a thick syrup so we added a 1/2 cup. Take 1 Tbsp every hour if sick, or everyday if not sick.

We also made an elixir which will be ready in six weeks.

Elderberry Elixir 

  • Fill a mason jar with elderberries, do not go to the top the berries will swell.
  • Slowly pour honey making sure all the berries are covered.
  • Pour 100 proof vodka to the top, leave room for daily shaking.
  • Put the lid on and shake well, check to see if you need to add more vodka
  • Label with elderberry and the date, store in a cool, dark place for six weeks.
  • Strain and pour into dark glass jars, and store in a cool dark place. I put mine on kitchen counter out of the sun, plus it helps to remind me to shack it, and check it.
Take 1/4-12 dropper full every two to three hours at first signs of sickness. For preventive purposes during the cold and flue season take 1/3 dropper full every four hours. If you are sick be sure to get plenty of rest to allow the elderberry elixir work to its fullest potential. 

You can also add some warming spices such as ginger, cinnamon, or orange peel. Add Rosehips, a handful per pint, add soothing herbs such as, licorice root, mullein which can be helpful for those with lung issues.

Elderberry is great for the immune system.


  1. Love this - had to pin and twit. Thanks for sharing.

  2. My dad used to always get elderberries to make tea. They certainly seem like they would have health benefits, though I must admit, I can't take the smell of them. :/

  3. Thanks for sharing with us on The HomeAcre Harvest Hop!
    I'm looking forward to seeing what you have to share with on the final week of The HomeAcre Harvest Hop today!