Thursday, October 5, 2023

Your Garden ~ Elderberry Syrup


    Cold and flu season is rapidly approaching, and we want to start the season off with the best immunity we can provide.  Of course, we are not medical professionals so listen to your doctor, but we feel elderberry syrup can make the difference.  Elderberry syrup along with a heathy diet and washing your hands regularly can help reduce your chances of becoming sick as well as has seen a decreased length of time of a particular illness.  The reduced time a person is sick leads to increased productivity and an overall feeling of wellness once an illness has passed you by.  Who would not want to reduce the time they are sick?  I know I would. 

   To help with that, we make our own Elderberry syrup using berries we grew on our family farm or those that we found and harvested from the roadside.  Elderberries are an often wild grown, edible plant with multiple health benefits. The main reason we use and make Elderberry syrup is to help prevent flu and colds.  If someone happens to get the flu or a cold, we increase the amount of syrup they take.

    I like that Elderberry syrup can be made from fresh, frozen, or dried berries.  Since we harvested our own berries from plants that we grew, once they are a deep purple color, we remove them from the stem and get rid of any leaves and freeze for later use.  The stem and the leaves can be toxic if consumed so be sure you are only saving the berries.  

    The syrup is simple to make and easy to store.  You can make a big batch and water bath them for later use or just make what you need for your family to make it through the season.  I usually make two-quart sized jars for our family of seven during the cold and flu season.  Once those sniffles arise everyone takes a couple of teaspoons in the morning before school.  That way their immunity stays strong, and hopefully prevents any further issues.

Elderberry Syrup

3 1/2 cups water

2/3 cup dried elderberries (1 1/3 cup fresh/frozen)

2 tablespoons grated ginger (1 tsp ground ginger)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Honey to taste

Pour everything but the honey into a saucepan and cover with a lid.  Bring the mixture to a boil, uncover, and reduce the heat and let it simmer for 3-45 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half.  Remove from the stove top and let it cool.  Once cooled transfer to a jar, be sure to "squeeze" the liquid from the berries before putting in the jar.  Once strained add the honey and mix it well.  Close the lid and you are all set.  If you want to water bath the jars when completed do this now.  

    We store our syrup in the fridge while in use.  A standard dose if 1/2-1 teaspoon for kids, and 1/2-1 tablespoon for adults.  If sickness strikes take a normal dose every 2-3 hours a day until better.  You can order dried elderberries online to make your syrup at home.  Or visits your health food or farm store to see if they carry readymade syrup.  Gummies could also be a good option for your family, just be sure to read the labels.  

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