Making Medicinal Elderberry Syrup

Back in September, a friend invited me to pick elderberries at her farm.  There was no doubt that I would be making medicinal elderberry syrup with those gorgeous orbs, but at the time I was overwhelmed with the garden and all the food preservation work that comes with the high harvest.  All those beautiful berries, were promptly put in the freezer to be dealt with when things weren’t quite so overwhelming.  This weekend was that time.

Sarah's ElderberriesElderberriesVolumes have been written about elderberry and their success at reducing the length and severity of colds and flu.  There are, I’m sure, a multitude of ways to make elderberry syrup.  I use a combination of methods and recipes I’ve learned over the years as well as my own little take on it.  Making Medicinal Elderberry SyrupThis is more of method than an actual recipe so that you can adapt it to the amount of elderberries blessing your herbal kitchen.  Here’s how to go about making medicinal elderberry syrup for your medicine cabinet:

You’ll need:

  • Elderberries
  • Water
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Whole Cloves
  • Chopped, Fresh Ginger
  • Lemon

Put elderberries in a pot with half their volume of water.  Simmer and stir occasionally for about 2 hours or until reduced by about half.  Strain the berries and squeeze out the juice using cheesecloth or a jelly bag.  Unlike making jelly, you want to squeeze the berries and get out as much of the juice as possible rather than letting drain on its own.  

Measure out the strained juice, into a clean pot, and for every quart of juice add:

  • 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 1 inch of Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Whole Clove
  • 2 Slices of Lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped, Fresh Ginger 

These measurements are approximate, a little more or a little less of any of them isn’t going to ruin your syrup.  Return this pot to the stove and simmer for 20 minutes.  Strain and bottle.  You can store the syrup in the fridge, freezer, or can for 10 minutes in a water bath (adjusting time for elevation).

To use your medicinal elderberry syrup:  Take 1 teaspoon every hour the minute you feel a cold or flu coming on.  This concoction has worked wonders for me over the years and while I’m not a doctor and can’t treat whatever ails you, next time you have a cold or flu you might just want to give this a try. 

Some great elderberry (and general herbal medicine) resources – most of which I used as source info for this article and my own elderberry / herbal education:

Do you use elderberry as part of your herbal medicine chest?  Any other suggestions for making medicinal elderberry syrup?

Shared with: The Homestead Barn Hop & Natural Living Monday & Homemade Mondays & The Backyard Farming Connection & Tuesdays with a Twist & Fat Tuesday & Party Wave Wednesday & Thank Your Body Thursday & Simple Lives Thursday & HomeAcre Hop & Unprocessed Fridays & Old-Fashioned Friday & From the Farm .

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28 thoughts on “Making Medicinal Elderberry Syrup

  1. janet pesaturo

    Great, great, post! Thx for sharing on Homestead Barn Hop. I love elderberries, and they grow in abundance in easy to harvest places here (along roads). For those who are not familiar with the plant, I wrote an extensive post on how to identify it, and another on making elderberry ice cream. I hope you don’t mind my leaving the link to my elderberry identification post. At the end of that post, I link to my ice cream recipe, if anyone is interested. Here’s the id post: http://ouroneacrefarm.com/foraging-for-elderberries/

    Reply
  2. Nevermind

    I was wondering if you could harvest the juice using a steam juicer, or do to you think the heat would damage medicinal property of the Elderberries? The steam is a lot hotter than simmering but I find I get a lot more juice from other berries that I use it on.

    Reply
  3. Kristi

    I have been wanting an elderberry tree for SO long so I could make this fabulous syrup. I finally broke down and bought some from Amazon.com and will be using a recipe very similar to this one. Much cheaper than buying it already made and bottled, that’s for sure!

    Reply
    1. Kathie Post author

      They’re tart not very sweet. They shouldn’t be eaten raw, there are reports that the raw berries can be toxic and while not deadly (at least not in my research) they can cause stomach upset in many people. Always cook the berries! The syrup in my opinion is very medicinal tasting. It’s not yucky but it’s not something you’d want to put on pancakes either. I’ve had elderberry jelly that’s mighty good but it was heavily sweetened too.

      Reply
    1. Kathie Post author

      I do. I just slice the lemon and throw the whole thing in there, peel, pith, and fruit. I don’t notice any bitterness from it.

      Reply
  4. Marla

    Great post – Eldenberries are truly one of nature’s gifts for health. Love you recipe – will save it. Visiting from Tuesday With a Twist Blog Hop!

    Reply
  5. Jennifer @ homesteadmania.com

    I love this article – will bookmark to use next year. Looking forward to harvesting all the wild elderberries around here now that I know what to do with them and what they are good for. Thanks for sharing at The Backyard Farming Connection.

    Jennifer

    Reply
  6. Lauren

    Stopping over from Unprocessed Fridays Link-up. Looking forward to trying this, just have to find Elderberries. Have you tried adding gelatin and turn this into gummies?

    Reply
    1. Kathie Post author

      I haven’t tried to make gummies because I really dislike the texture of gummies, ha. I’m sure it would work just fine, however.

      Reply
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  8. Michelle

    Can you give me any idea of the efficacy of this vs. store-bought elderberry? The type we use (Planetary Herbals brand) says to take 1 t. up to twice daily.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Kathie Post author

      Michelle, I can’t comment with any authority on how this would compare to the store bought brands. It’s not something I’ve done any testing on. I just know this homemade version has worked for us. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful but I don’t want to be misleading either.

      Reply
  9. Rachael Walker

    I bought organic elderberries from amazon.com. Do I use the same amount of berries? Also have I simmer the berries and water…can I put it through a regular juicer? I also bought mason jars to store it in…do I have to can them storing them in a jar? OR can I just throw it in the fridge or freezer? Sorry this is my first time making this syrup.

    How long does it last in the fridge and freezer? Thank you for taking the time!

    Rachael

    Reply
    1. Kathie Post author

      I would use the same amount of berries no matter the source. You need to cook the berries, I’ve read many recipes and methods for making elderberry syrup and every single one talks about cooking the berries before juicing. A steam juicer could work but I personally wouldn’t run it through a regular juicer. I’m sure you could freeze it with no problems, I’ve never done it. I do store my open jars in the fridge and they last a long time in there. I would just make sure there’s no mold or anything. In the freezer, I’m guessing they’d last about a year.

      Reply
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