Hello dear ones!
A friend just gave me a big bag full of Elderberries (they were frozen and on the stem). And I just made an awesome batch of syrup out of them!
Ingredients: At least 2 cups of Elderberries with stems mostly removed. Then I added filtered water, cinnamon sticks, Reishi mushroom chunks, whole cloves, organic lemon rinds, Osha root, turmeric powder, Chaga mushroom powder, organic lemon juice, local organic honey.
In this case, I made a larger batch, meaning it took me 90 mins to remove all the stems from the berries. Then another 90 minutes of cooking / simmering the syrup mixture. Then letting that cool a bit and adding honey… all totaled, from start to bottling took 5 hours or more. But I didn’t have to be attentive to the process the entire time.
Throughout this entire process, try to maintain clean (sanitized even) surfaces / tools, as we want to avoid mold getting in the syrup. The sweet honey acts as both a preservative (lengthens syrup life) and it might even act as mold food if many spores get in there. The boiling process will sanitize the berry mixture, just be mindful after that.
First of all, be very careful in taking the berries off the stems. The stems and leaves can be toxic (boiling them with the berries produces a little bit of arsenic), so try to get as many stems as you can out of the berry bowl. A few tiny stems doesn’t matter, as we are only taking a teaspoon or less of elderberry syrup daily as a cold remedy / preventative. I think freezing the berries can help with this process of berry / stem separation.
Then I put the berries in stock pot. I completely covered the berries in filtered water. Then I turned on the burner (gas burner in this case) to low / medium. As the mixture was heating up, I cut up the organic lemons, and then juiced them, keeping the juice separate for now. Then I put the organic lemon rinds in with the berry mixture.
Then I added the hard / larger ingredients – cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, Osha root and Reishi mushroom chunks. Once this watery mixture was boiling, I turned the burner down all the way to low / simmer. I let this simmer for one hour.
Then I added the powders / lemon juice – turmeric powder, Chaga mushroom powder and organic lemon juice. I stirred up the red juicy mixture and then kept it simmering for another 30 minutes.
Then turn off the heat and allow to cool for 45 mins with the lid on or until you can barely touch the pot without burning yourself (do be careful here!). Then strain out the berries, cloves, cinnamon sticks, lemon rinds, etc. Cheese cloth works well, as then you can also squeeze the messy mixture to get every precious drop of medicine out of it. I used a strainer with a fine mesh and then pressed it down with a large spoon to coax out more precious medicinal syrup.
At this point, you need to carefully add the organic honey. Stir it in to the liquid (already strained) elderberry syrup mixture. I would suggest adding one cup of honey for every 2 cups of syrup base liquid. Then allow to cool closer to room temperature before bottling it.
A friend suggested putting the syrup in an ice cube tray and freezing it – then you can use a couple of elderberry ice cubes each week! Brilliant! I am using small plastic containers to freeze it – that way it won’t go bad.
Because of the honey (which in this case acts as a preservative if you maintained a clean process throughout), I have heard that the finished Elderberry Syrup can last a few weeks in the fridge. I wouldn’t drink it beyond that point – hence you want to freeze some for later!
Good luck and let me know if you try it!
Thanks for joining me on this culinary, medicinal journey!
BTW Osha Root, a.k.a. Bear Root, is from the high mountains of the West (Rockies, Sierras, etc). I’m pretty sure it only grows above 7,000 ft, meaning it is very rare. Better to buy it from someone who you know is ethical about harvesting it (I think it is occasionally endangered). It is a very potent adaptogen for preventing / treating respiratory sicknesses. I got my Osha Root back in 2017 when I did my Birth Process work training out in British Columbia. Glad to be using it all up now and so grateful for the medicine!