Elderberry Syrup Recipe: Simple and Delightful

Making your own elderberry syrup: You’ve heard about it from a neighbor. You read about it in your grandmother’s book of remedies. But you were hesitant to try it yourself. Your arguments: “difficult”, “unsafe” and “who has the time”. Put your worries away—homemade elderberry syrup recipe is safe and seductively simple to make.

It takes about one hour make it (cleaning-up included), and your family is set for the winter months. It wasn’t always like that for me. Years ago, I “discovered” elderberry syrup in my local health store when a friendly and knowledgeable owner recommended a “miracle product” from Israel called Sambucol. The syrup worked quickly and had a superb, very-berry taste. Soon enough, the entire family was hooked. I continued buying the syrup for some time, until I found a wild and wonderful blossoming tree of Sambucus and decided it’s much better and cheaper make the syrup at home.

elder flowers

The elder flowers are great too. Fragrant, with broad therapeutic properties;
the blossoms can be used dry or fresh and added to boiling water to make a soothing tea.

I’m so thankful I know how to make my very own elderberry syrup. Some would say that my recipe is quite plain, calling for nothing else but elderberries and honey. You may find recipes that call for cinnamon and  ginger—all wonderful gifts of nature which I love, but the truth is that this syrup will work and taste well without it. Just ask the makers of Sambucol. I say—why change the winning combination?

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

1.  Some splatter is unavoidable, so put your apron on.

2.  Start with two cups of ripe elderberries. Rinse them under cold water. No fresh berries? No problem. Use dried ones and cut the amount in half.

fresh and ripe elderberries

Just picked: Fresh and ripe elderberries

3.  Place berries in a saucepan and add two cups of cold water.

4.  Boil—first at high heat, and then reduce the heat, so berries simmer slowly at low temperature for about 30 minutes. My artistic daughter asked for a teaspoon of juice to “experiment with this incredible color”.

bubbly elderberry syrup

Just looking at the bubbly, brightly colored berry mixture makes me happy!

5.  Back to the recipe: Strain the mixture, smashing the berries well to release as much juice as possible. Cool the juice to room temperature.

6.  Add one cup of honey (raw and local is best, but any other honey will do) and mix well.

raw and local honey

Raw local honey.

7.  There is a reason syrups are sold in bottles and not in jars. Less mess and easy to handle. I recommend that you transfer this concentrate into in a dark bottle and refrigerate it. That’s it! This concentrate can last throughout the winter. Take one tablespoon daily for prevention and a teaspoon several times daily while sick. You can also mix it with yogurt, seltzer water or your morning lemonade. It goes great with pancakes!

I think that the making of the syrup was really easy. But, what are the proven and scientific elderberry syrup benefits? Here are some findings:

  • Blue and black elderberries have medicinal properties, known since the Roman times. They need to be cooked as raw berries contain alkaloids.
  • Elderberries contain natural compounds called flavonoids, vitamins B and C, amino-acids, potassium, beta carotene, calcium and phosphorus.
  • Flavonoids in elderberries are known to reduce swelling, boost the immunity and fight inflammation.
  • According to one study, a standardized elderberry extract offers a safe alternative to treat flu type A and B. Namely, elderberries ease flu symptoms including headache, fever, sore throat, cough, and fatigue.
  • Laboratory research concluded that elderberry might be useful against swine flu. In particular, it suggests that the effectiveness of elderberry extract is comparable with the effectiveness of conventional preparations such as Tamiflu for H1N1 infections.
  • Some studies found that elderberry is helpful against bronchitis and sinus infections.
  • There are claims that elderberry helps with the weight loss.

To complement the list of above benefits, I can safely add that the elderberry juice has a great artistic use. According to an art experiment conducted by my daughter Zoe, the vividly colored berry extract can be used to paint on paper. Take a look at this cool abstract!

piece of berry art by Zoe

Very berry art!

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