Especially during cold and flu season, elderberry syrup is an amazing elixir to have on hand. It is sweet, delicious and effective. Making it at home is easy, fun, smells amazing, and costs a fraction of the price of elderberry syrup purchased at a store. It will last in your refrigerator for months, but most likely will disappear quick. Take it by the spoonful (1 tsp children, 1 TBSP adults per day, or up to 3 tsp/TBSP during an illness), or add to beverages, in oatmeal, or over pancakes. Excellent choice for children or anyone who has a sweet tooth! Keep in mind it does contain sugar (honey), so don't go too crazy. Honey is not recommended for babies. You can make it without the honey but the juice will need to be consumed within 1-2 weeks.
Purchasing Ingredients: Elderberries can be purchased at a local health food store in the bulk spices and herbs section. You can also find them online at Mountain Rose Herbs, Frontier Coop, or Starwest Botanicals. All other ingredients can also be purchased at a local health store or any grocery store.Choose organic and local whenever possible.
3 1/2 cups water
2/3 cups elderberries
4 TBSP thiny sliced fresh ginger root
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 star anise (optional)
1/2 cup honey
In a medium pot, add all ingredients except for honey to water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The liquid should reduce to about half. Remove from heat and let cool slightly (about 15minutes). Pour through a mesh strainer into a glass or metal bowl. Use a spatula or spoon to squeeze the extra liquid out of the berries and through the strainer. Compost or discard the berry mixture. Whisk honey into the warm liquid until it is well combined. Finally, transfer to a 16-ounce jar or two8-ounce jars -- one for you, one for a friend! Elderberry syrup makes a great gift.
I recommend using a spoon to peel the ginger,or at least the spots that are harder to get to with a peeler. A mandoline is also a great tool for slicing the ginger.
*Refrigerate final product!