October 24, 2011
Elderberry Syrup for flu
I went to the Farmers Market last Sunday. I bought a case of tomatoes to can and a few other things. Before I left tho, I spotted a bag of tiny berries on stems. I asked what they were because they had a dusty frosted look to them. They were elderberries. I looked it up online and I guess they turn that color when very ripe. I didn't know that, Ive only seen the dark berries. And so I asked her for 2lbs. Now I wish I asked for more. It was the last day of the Market so I cant get anymore.
They sat here and the next day I came down with the flu. Ive been pretty sick for almost a week. I was frustrated because the stuff I bought needed to be processed and all I could do was sleep and cough. Around Thurs. I decided to try to clean the berries off the stems. I read once long ago to use a fork and it really does work great. This way you do not get really stained fingers and it doesn't take as long.
And so I left the bag of berries on my butcher block and a bowl next to it...and any time I felt a bit better I would work on some. It really only took me about an hr or so. Probably would have been much faster if I wasn't so sick. And then the berries sat another day or so. I just couldn't do it. I had considered making some jam but not now.
And so since elderberry is a good thing to take for flu, I decided it would be faster and better for me if I made that syrup to take. Elderberry is antiviral. It wont keep you from getting sick but will cut down on the length of time you are sick. Ive taken some from one I bought at the health food store but I think one you make yourself is fresher. Ive noticed it working much faster than what I bought.
And so I decided to add some other good things for colds to it. Rather than use sugar to make it syrupy, I added honey. Its not a thick syrup but that's ok. I did it for the health benefits of honey and for flavor. And I buy local honey which is even better to use. Then I decided ginger is good too. I often buy ginger knobs and peel them, then slice them into coins about 1/4 in. thick. Then I cover them with dry sherry to preserve it. Kept in the refrigerator, I can use them in all my stir fries and even the sherry adds a nice flavor. This way I always have some on hand. And because this was a syrup to heal, I added the zest of one small lemon for a bit more flavor and some Vit. C.
Elderberry Syrup makes about 3 1/2pts.
2lbs. of elderberries, fresh picked still on stems
2 1/4in. slices of ginger
Zest of one small lemon
Clean the berries from the stems with a fork. Put all berries in a lg. pot and add the water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20min. till berries are really soft. Strain the berries and juice thru a very fine strainer into a bowl. Let berries drip for about an hr., pressing juices out and stirring them around to release all the juices.
When you can get no more juice, toss berries in garbage. Pour juices into a pan and add the honey. Bring to a boil, then add the ginger and lemon and simmer till it tastes like you would like. I let mine simmer about 15min. more. I wanted some of the flavors but didn't want them to overwhelm the elderberry flavor since I really like that. Then strain the ginger and lemon peel out.
You can pour into jars and refrigerate or you can can them for longer use. How much you get will depend on how many berries were in that 2lbs OR how many berries you have. . The jars can be water bathed for 10min. if needed.
*And by the way, Ive taken it for two days now and last night I slept better and my cough is easing.
And for anyone else planning on doing this......dont use any stems in the mix. I read of one case of poisoning from these berries and it was due to some just throwing it all in a pot then straining. The cause was from the stems. So use the fork to rake them off the stems, it works great and its quick and you get almost no stems at all that way.