DIY Elderberry Syrup

When I first became interested in the edible plant world around me, I frequently saw articles and recipes featuring elderberry. As a general practice, I stuck with items I could easily identify. So, elderberry, whose doppelgänger happens to be poisonous water hemlock, remained off my list. As I became more confident in my ability to identify plants (and discovered I had an elderberry tree growing in my backyard), I forayed for the first time into the practice of making elderberry syrup.

Elderberries are high in vitamin c, fiber and antioxidants, and are a natural remedy for the cold and flu. You can safely harvest them yourself or buy the berries (dried or fresh) from some health food stores. This winter, make your own Elderberry syrup to give your immune system a boost.

Medicinal Elderberry Syrup: Combine one cup of elderberries and three cups of water in a saucepan. Add cinnamon sticks, cloves, and freshly-grated ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for forty-five minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool until warm. Stir in half a cup to a cup of raw local honey. Pour through a strainer (I like to place cheesecloth in a strainer so I can wring all the juice from the berries) into a clean jar and store in the fridge or individually freeze using ice cube trays.

When the dreaded flu makes its rounds, enjoy one thawed serving of elderberry syrup in tea or by itself. It is important to note that the leaves, bark, and raw berries are poisonous and that people with auto-immune disorders and those who are immunocompromised should not take elderberry products without consulting a medical practitioner.

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