We've already had one round of sickness already this year, so I decided we need to start taking some elderberry syrup both as a preventative and during any illness we may have.
Purchasing name brand elderberry meds can get really expensive, especially for a family of 5. I am finding that making it myself is a much less expensive option!
Elderberry is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, flavonoids, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and a whole host of good-for-you things.
Elderberry has been used to help with flu, colds, sinus issues, and even as a hayfever remedy. (I just recently read about the hayfever usage and might need to consider that next fall!)
For more detailed info as to how elderberry products work, check out Sambucol's FAQ page, for they say it more eloquently than I can this morning. :)
Elderberry syrup is not a new thing--it has been used for generations.
After all of that information, let's move on to the actual recipe!
I used the recipe at Mountain Rose Herbs for reference, leaving out the optional stuff. With my allergy/sensitivity issues, I figure the less ingredients the better.
Since our elderberries at the farm didn't produce well due to the drought this summer, and I used all of the ones I had in the freezer, I purchased a pound of Frontier Organic Dried Elderberries from the local health food store for $14.99. I wanted to order from Mountain Rose Herbs, but they were out and I wanted to get some ASAP.
I also purchased local(ish) honey from the local health food store for $2.99/lb.
Here's the recipe, the way I made it:
1/2 cup dried elderberries (or 1 cup fresh/frozen)
3 cups water
1 cup honey
sterilized jar with lid
1. Put the elderberries and water in a pan, bring to a boil and simmer 30 mins.
2. Mash your elderberries. I used a potato masher. You could use a spoon or carefully use an immersion blender or something similar. Be careful--the juice will stain!
3. Strain your elderberry water into your sterilized jar, pressing to get as much juice out as possible.
4. Pour out a small amount of hot/warm elderberry juice into a small bowl and mix with honey.
5. Pour honey mixture into jarred elderberry juice and stir until combined.
I ended up with a little over 3 cups of syrup. I expected closer to 4 cups, but I left the stove for a bit and came back to a non-simmering pot, then turned it up and it was boiling. Oops.
Dosage: For everyday maintenance, 1 TB daily. When you are fighting an illness, take 1tsp every 2 to 3 hours.
For ease of pouring, I am repurposing a smaller bottle.
Cost to make this batch came to $4.37. That is less than half what a little bottle of Sambucol would cost me!
I actually like this homemade version better than Sambucol!
Most of my family took to this syrup pretty well, but not my extra-picky middle child. *sigh* He loves maple syrup, so maybe I will try making a small batch with maple syrup instead of honey.... more expensive, but if it means he will take it...
Obviously, if you have a little one under 2 years old, you may want to use a different syrup other than honey.