I always wondered why people made syrup and didn’t just eat the elderberries. After doing some research, I found out that you can NOT just throw elderberries in your smoothie or salad because they can make you sick. Raw elderberries can cause stomach aches, vomiting and worse.
According to the USDA:
Only the blue or purple berries are elderberry are edible. Edible berries and flower are used for medicine, dyes or basketry, arrow shafts, flute, whistles, clapper sticks, and folk medicine. The active alkaloids in elderberry plants are hydrocyanic acid and sambucine. Both alkaloids will cause nausea so care should be observed with this plant. Elderberries are high in Vitamin C. The red berries other related species are toxic and should not be gathered.
So, since you can’t eat them raw, elderberry syrup was created to get the goodness from this plant. They have so many supportive properties, it would be a shame not use what He provided us. Elderberries are packed with Vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, iron and powerful antioxidants. They are anti–inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, and antibacterial. One of the most significant health benefits is anticancer activity in certain types of breast cancer. AND research has shown it is effective against 10 different strains of influenza. Holy moly, right?!
In Michigan, you can find these bushes and they are easy to grow. In fact, they have been one of the easiest things to keep alive as they are a hardy perennial and are naturally disease resistant. They require little maintenance after they become established.
We chose Adams, I mean it is my husband’s name so honestly that is why I looked into this variety. Adams is an American variety grows between 8 to 10 feet tall. The large, dark purple fruits ripen in August and are great for making syrup. I have heard they also make great pies, but I have not tried that yet. The branches are strong and hold the berries upright, so I didn’t need to add supports. We needed to plant a pollinator, so we also planted Johns.
Johns is early producing American variety produces an abundance of berries that are especially good for making jelly and syrup. It can grow about 12 feet tall and wide, this variety is a good pollinator for Adams.
If you do not have the space, don’t want to grow your own, or need more than you produced this year, you can get dried organic elderberries made by Frontier on Amazon.
Before I give you the recipe, I need to tell you, you should always talk with your doctor before starting a new supplement or giving your children a new supplement. I am not a doctor, just sharing what we do to empower you.
In our home, I take one teaspoon during the season of sick and I give my littles, OVER the age of 1, a half of a teaspoon. (Note: Do NOT give honey to children under 1 year of age.) My oldest takes 1 teaspoon. If we feel sick, I’ll usually take double or triple the amount for extra support. It takes consistency to maintain wellness. Talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement.
- 1 cup of Dried Elderberries OR 2 cups of Fresh OR 1/2 cup dried elderberry & 1/2 cup dried Young Living wolfberries
- 4 Cups of Purified Water (We use reverse osmosis)
- 1 and 1/2 cups of Raw Local Honey we use Stakich
- 1 drop of Thieves Vitality Essential Oil*
- 1 drop of Orange or Lemon Vitality Essential Oil*
*We only use Young Living Vitality Essential Oils as they are labeled as dietary supplements. Do not use any other brand.
If you prefer to omit the oils, you can replace with a 3-5 cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger and a few cloves during the boiling part.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Add the elderberries and reduce to a simmer. Make a mental note of where the water line is and when it reduces by half, you know the syrup is done. This can take hours. So, watch carefully and have something to do at home while you are waiting.
- Let it cool off. It should be warm, but not boiling when you strain.
- Strain it through cheese cloth or a mesh strainer. smash those berries to get all the goodness out. You do not want the berries, but the berries hold the water, so squish them. It should be cool enough to your touch before you add the raw honey.
- Now, add the raw honey. Mix the honey in the syrup, slowly. The syrup stains and it will be watery. I used my kitchen aid mixer with the whip on low. I had the honey in the mixer and slowly added the elderberry syrup a little at a time.
- Divide the syrup in glass jars. I used 4oz glass dropper bottles. Any glass jar will work as long as it seals.
- Add the Young Living Vitality Essential Oils to the bottle. Note: I do NOT recommend any other brand, only Young Living, as these are vitality oils that are dietary supplements. Omit adding the oils if you added the ginger, cloves and cinnamon sticks to Step 2.
- Store in the fridge.
I hope you enjoy making this syrup! If you would like me to teach a proactive wellness class in your home, I would be honored.
Resources & Credit