Fate was on my side this year with the Elderberry season it seems, it’s the one crop I usually end up missing and always regret not being able to forage. I’m usually too caught up with our last garden shows of the year or busy harvesting the pumpkins and squash on the plot but it’s mid August and the hedgerows are laden with black berries and elderberries. My parents were on holiday for the week so I had the whole 7 days to myself which meant I had the opportunity to head on out and harvest all those early, ripe elderberries.
I’m a keen herbalist and would love to learn more about using plants as natural remedies, it fascinates me so much that we are surrounded by such greatness! Elderberries are just one of the many foraged goods that are extremely good for you and your body and have been used as traditional medicine for centuries. The leaves, branches and stems shouldn’t be consumed as they are toxic but the berries contain so much goodness in them and are perfect for making into jams, syrups and wines. They are jammed packed with vitamin’s A, B and C and are rich in nutrients. Plus they are the ultimate cold busting berries which help strengthen your immune system too. So to prepare myself for the Winter months ahead I decided to make myself up some Elderberry syrup, this can be taken as an everyday preventative or used to relieve a cold when one strikes. However, I’d just like to mention that I am not a professional, please take care when foraging and always double check that you are picking the right berry.
Makes: 4 x 500ml bottles
Cooking time: 45 minutes
- 600g elderberries
- 8 cups of water
- 4 cups of sugar
- 10 cloves
- 1 stick of cinnamon
Remove the berries from the branches making sure to remove as many as the stems as possible as these can be poisonous in large quantities. Clean the berries and then place in a pan with the water with the cloves and cinnamon stick then bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, mashing the berries up to remove the juice.
Pour the mixture through a strainer or muslin cloth to remove the berry skins and any remaining stems. Clean the pan and then add the juice with 4 cups of sugar, simmer until the sugar is all dissolved.
Pour the mixture into the bottles using a funnel and label. It will keep for 6 months.
As a preventative: a tablespoon a day can be given to adults or a teaspoon a day to children.
At the first sign of illness: a tablespoon full every 2-3 hours for adults or a teaspoonful every 2-3 hours for children.