During a recent trip to our local farm, we came across an elder tree right by our picnic spot, absolutely brimming with elderberries, so naturally I filled a bagful. I love a bit of impromptu foraging!
Elderberries are a completely underrated native fruit in my opinion. They are absolutely overflowing with vitamin C (one of the best known sources in fact) as well as antioxidants and minerals. There have been numerous scientific studies that support the already well known notion that elderberry syrup can help prevent colds and the flu and help you to recover quicker when you are ill.
Elderberry syrup is also delicious. I think it’s a lot like blackcurrant in flavour and as a result a couple of teaspoons are lovely on porridge, yoghurt, drizzled over desserts or straight from the spoon.
Warning! Please ensure you follow the recipe to select and cook your elderberries first; elderberries contain alkaloids which lessen as the fruit ripens and are completely deactivated during cooking. In other words, don’t eat unripe or uncooked elderberries; your tummy won’t thank you for it!
This recipe uses fresh, foraged elderberries. You can buy them dried online, although I haven’t personally done this and so I can’t link to any personal recommendations. If you are using dried berries, reduce the volume of berries by half, keeping everything else the same.
You will need:
- 3 cups water, preferably filtered
- 2 cups ripe elderberries
- 1 heaped tablespoon raw honey, or to taste
- A glass bottle or recycled glass jar to store your finished syrup
Remove the elderberries from the stems, discarding any green or red unripe berries, keeping only the black ones. Try to ensure no bits of stem creep into your bowl.
Wash and then add the berries and water to a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain the mixture into a glass bowl, squishing the berries to remove all the juice. I personally used my cafetiere – it’s perfect for this job!
Allow the mixture to cool until it’s around body temperature before stirring in the honey. You don’t want to heat the honey since it will destroy the beneficial enzymes.
Pour into your glass bottle or jar and store in the fridge; it should keep for 3 or 4 months. Done!
Tip! Leftover elderberries freeze really well. Just wash and pat dry with kitchen roll, and then store in a glass jar. I used a recycled olive jar.
Please let me know what you think of this recipe by leaving a comment; I’d love to hear from you.