Richo's World of Seeds, Weeds and Deeds

Making Elderberry Syrup

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. 

3)  In the morning, pour the softened berries into a blender and blend them vigorously.  They will vortex and mush up.

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.

Very thick!

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


Comments on: "Making Elderberry Syrup" (15)

  1. sylvia sycamore said:

    ….do you recommend tincture also as a immune booster?? ..i make welll..thanks, syl..

    • Elderberry tincture (or the nonalcoholic glycerite) is a great product. There’s a good recipe for it in “making plant medicine.” The herb itself is quite multifaceted–you can use the flowers or the fruits, and you can make tea, tincture, or syrup. All useful homemade medicines. Richo

  2. Thanks Richo. I bookmarked this page. Please tell us how to add elecampane or any other antitussive. Would horehound, or calamus, be an effective additive to elderberry syrup? Thanks again.

  3. comfreycottages said:

    Nice zebra spoon;D Good recipe, thank you for sharing!

  4. Karen Wennlund said:

    Thanks Again Richo!
    For the recipe to plant a fire under butt to utilize the dried berries in the cabinet, but also for the ongoing inspiring anchor of your musings in these increasingly crazy, outrageous, and beautiful times…
    Love to you and yours on this Solstice-
    Karen in Ashland

  5. […] night I began preparations for todays Elderberry syrup making.  I am following a recipe by Richo Cech of Horizon Herbs. Here are pictures of my own experience making Elderberry syrup. […]

  6. Would you make a Hawthorn Berry Syrup the same way? By adding alcohol to preserve it would it then be a “cordial”?

  7. Can you make tea from the elderberry leaves? I have one that has not produced berries yet..perhaps next year.?

    • Sorry, no, that will not work to try to make tea from the leaves. The leaves can be used to make an oil for external application, but not a tea for internal use. please read “making plant medicine” for a full rundown on what works best in the elderberry world.

  8. Thanks for posting this recipe. I found elderberry juice concentrate at a 1:6 ratio,would adding 50% glycerin to this juice create a similar product to your recipe?

  9. Blissgardener, We are going to be making a batch of this lovely concoction this weekend and I was wondering if you had any round about idea how long we can expect the honey preserved syrup to last in the fridge? Thanks!

  10. Mary Martinez said:

    I made elderberry juice that’s already been strained and wanted to make syrup. So I would just follow your recipe – the part cook down and then mix 1:1 elderberry to glycerin right? and the self life would be what? Thank you for your time.MM

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