Making Elderberry Syrup
The motivation for inventing and testing this recipe comes from my wish to help people who are suffering from colds or flu, or wish to avoid same. I’ve noticed that many children balk at taking bitter medicines yet many of our best cold and flu medicines are bitter ones. So I set out to find a strong antiviral and immune enhancing herb that would be agreeable to palates young and old. In this I settled upon Elderberry. Having experienced its protective influence, therapeutic value and finding it very tasty indeed, I even took to lacing it with other herbs (for instance the great antitussive, elecampane) and administering it to children, who gleefully took it, and much to their benefit. Being convinced, I proceeded to learn as much as possible about the diverse methods of preparation. Once we in our family started producing a syrup made of our fresh berries cooked down and preserved back with honey or glycerin, it turned out to be so needed that our supplies soon dwindled. Unflummoxed, we knew we had a reserve of dried berries in stock. In the old “Making Plant Medicine” tradition I then set out to determine the best process for producing a superior black elderberry syrup from the dried berries. Here it is step by step, in word and photo!
1) Use 1 cup of dried berries (weighs appx 100 gram, or 3.5 oz.)
2) add 2 cups boiling water. Cover with plate and let sit overnight. Volume now shows over 2 cups.
4) Pour the berry mixture into a fine sieve and press it through, or put in a pressing bag and press out in a tincture press (not shown). (Compost the seeds.)
5) Volume of juice is 2 cups. Simmer the juice on the back of the stove at low heat. Stir occasionally. Keep reducing juice until it reaches half volume (1 cup). It’ll take an hour or two. The juice is now very concentrated, thickly loaded with pectin and bioactive compounds. By the way, reduction time when using reconstituted dried berries (as in this recipe) is much faster than when reducing down the pressed juice of the fresh berries, which pretty much takes all day.
6) Measure the reduced juice. It should be 1 cup. Licking pan is acceptable.
7) Add 1 cup of glycerin or honey to bring volume back up to 2 cups.
8)Stir with a Zebra spoon from Kenya. Sorry about the dirty thumbnail its good honest dirt.
9) Filter through 4 layers cheesecloth
10) squeeze out cheesecloth by hand into the ceramic bowl, or press in a tincture press (not shown).
11) Pour filtered juice back into clean pyrex. Should measure a little less than 2 cups. Have some! (Kenyan spoon tastes a little funny.)
But overall, Deelicious!
Endnotes) Very nice syrup, properly preserved and very clean, having been filtered of impurities. Honey preserved syrup probably best kept in fridge. The glycerin preparation is suitable for bottling and dispensing pretty much like a tincture. Dosage of the syrup is 1 tablespoon each dose, taken 2 or 3 times daily. If exposed to cold germs, consciously avoid touching nose.
Good News! Richo