As the summer draws to a close, cool weather and a change in the air can bring about the cold and flu season quickly. My family and I have used elderberry syrup for years for as it is packed with antioxidants and vitamins that boost the immune system. It tames inflammation, lessens stress, and prevents and eases cold symptoms. We have always bought ours, but this year we were fortunate to find some trees nearby and decided to forage some berries and make it ourselves.
My favorite store bought elderberry is the Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup, so I knew I wanted to make this recipe as close to that as I could. I usually allow for a few times through to test out a recipe, but on my first try, this one came out perfectly and a dead ringer for the Gaia Elderberry syrup.
So if you have fresh, frozen or dried elderberries, here is the perfect recipe for your homemade syrup:
1 pound (4 cups) fresh or frozen elderberries, or 1/2 pound dried elderberries, all stems removed
*tip: if you pick them fresh, I recommend freezing on the branch as it is easier to get them off the stems and branches once frozen)
3 cups water
1/2 cup organic raw cane sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1. To make juice, place berries in a large soup pot along with water. Cover and bring to a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, mashing berries with a potato masher occasionally to release their juices.
2. Allow the juice to cool a bit, then pour though a nut milk bag (the one you would use to make a nut milk like almond milk for example) into a bowl. Strain as much liquid out a possible and discard solids. This should leave you with about 2 and 2/3 cups of juice.
3. Pour the juice back into the soup pot add in the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, stir occasionally until syrup has thickened and reduced to about 2 and a 1/2 cups. This should be about 10 to 15 minutes. If you prefer a thicker syrup, allow to simmer a bit longer.
4. Once cooled, syrup will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I poured mine into small mason jars and froze them for future use. If you prefer you can freeze them in ice cube trays for easy dosing.
5. You can take elderberry as a daily immune boost, or when you feel a cold coming on to help you feel better sooner. The recommended dosage is as follows:
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon daily for adults to prevent illness, or if the flu does strike, take the same amount every 2 to 3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.
- Children 1 to 3 can take 1/4 teaspoon per day. Ages 4 and up can take a teaspoon daily.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you try it out feel free to share it and tag me on instagram @vegan_michele or use the hashtag #veganmichele
For more on natural ways to usher in the Fall season, watch here: