Tips for Making Elderberry Syrup

Last year I posted how I made elderberry syrup and over the winter I was able to test and try out a few new ways of making elderberry syrup that make it more palatable and medicinally potent.
What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup dried elderberries (or one cup fresh)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup honey
  • 2 cups water boiling water
  • optional ingredients; 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp rose hips (vit C), vodka or brandy
  • (mountain rose herbs also recommends grated ginger, a cinnamon stick in their video, all of which have warming properties that would be beneficial especially when you’re already sick -though some do not care for the taste)

1. Take a 1/2 cup of dried elderberries,

Dried elderberries

2. Pour boiling water over berries (and rose hips if you are using) and let steep for 20 to 30 minutes.

Simmering elderberries

3. Strain out the berries.

strained elderberries

4. and then just use the back of a spoon to squeeze out any juice left in the berries. Just don’t press to hard or you’ll get a bit of the solids.

IMG_1470

5. Place the liquid back into the pan and heat only until it begins to steam. Do not let it boil! Boiling will cause the taste to be…..off, and a bit bitter. Once the liquid has been reduced by half, let cool.

6. Add in the honey (and lemon juice if using) and stir until combined. For preservation purposes, you need to use a 1:1 ratio of liquid to sugar, and a bit more honey than liquid as honey. If you plan on consuming it within a few weeks, just sweeten to taste. (I find that between 1/2 and 3/4 cup is plenty sweet enough!) You may also add a few tablespoons of vodka or brandy to enhance flavor and preservation.

Raw Honey

7. Once thoroughly combined, just place into a storage jar and keep in the fridge!

Elderberry syrup

I find that the syrup lasts for a few weeks in my fridge.

If you’d rather have elderberry on hand for the adults in the family, you can also make an elderberry tincture which will keep for many, many months.

I also recommend getting dried elderberries from Mountain Rose Herbs! When I don’t forage the berries, I’ve purchased my berries from them many times myself.

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

I am an affiliate of MRH, so thank you for any purchase you make using the banner above.

Tips for Making Elderberry Syrup
Author: 
Recipe type: Natural Health
 

Ingredients
  • ½ cup dried elderberries (or one cup fresh)
  • ½ to 1 cup honey
  • 2 cups water boiling water
  • optional ingredients; 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp rose hips (vit C), vodka or brandy
  • (mountain rose herbs also recommends grated ginger, a cinnamon stick in their video, all of which have warming properties that would be beneficial especially when you’re already sick -though some do not care for the taste)

Instructions
  1. Pour boiling water over dried berries (and rose hips if using).
  2. Let steep for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Strain out the berries, use the back of a spoon to squeeze out any juice left in the berries, being careful not to press the berries through.
  4. Place the liquid back into the pan and heat only until it begins to steam, do not let it boil.
  5. Once liquid has been reduced by half, let cool.
  6. Add in honey (and lemon juice if using) and stir until combined. For preservation purposes, use a ratio of 1:1 liquid to sugar.
  7. Add a few tablespoons of vodka or brandy to enhance flavor and preservation if desired.
  8. Place into storage jar and keep in the fridge.

elderberry1

 

*This post is linked to the Home Remedies Carnival – a great post full of easy to make remedies!



Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
Donielle is an author, amateur herbalist, lover of real food, and an advocate for natural health. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health, so much so that she is currently taking courses to become a master herbalist. Her personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and she began this blog in order to share all of the information she found helpful in her journey to healing.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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Comments

  1. Oh, I beg to differ on the “preventative” part. :) My kids and I were all taking elderberry syrup daily. My husband wasn’t. We got sick. The kids were over it fully in a week, maybe less. I’m still coughing a little but was mostly better in a week. My husband’s been sick for THREE weeks now…coughing constantly. We suspect whooping cough, as it’s going around here. Although he’s the only one who’s had “real” full symptoms — I had many symptoms (the cough, headache), the kids? Nearly nothing. Minor coughing. Elderberry was the major difference between my husband and the rest of us, because we were all eating well. So it definitely had some effect!

    • MommyOf2 says:

      Kate, thank you for sharing your story. I am new to this wonderful herb. Usually when I’m sick I take tons of garlic oil, but I wasn’t sure how safe it is to take when pregnant. So when I got sick my friend told me to try elderberry. I feel much better and my little 19 month old thick boogers are gone after just one dose!

    • I’ve yet to try this recipe but from what I know of sugar, it lowers the immune system.

      • The addition of honey isn’t necessary for the elderberries to do their work, it just makes it more palatable. So you can easily leave it out. And when you take a tablespoon or less of the syrup each day, the amount of honey you’re consuming is actually quite small.

  2. Question: following this recipe, what is the suggested daily dosage? And, is it okay to take it all at once, or more effective if taken in smaller doses morning and evening?
    Thanks!

  3. I’m just making this and I didn’t really follow your directions on sugar? Can you clarify please? Thanks!!

    • @shelley, I normally add the honey in after the elderberry liquid is cooled in order to retain the beneficial RAW part of the honey. if you use a different sugar you can add it at any time.

  4. I just made this recipe and used 1/2 c honey and its super sweet. I think I would like to use less next time, but am curious if that would make it less beneficial.

    • @Angie, The honey is basically used as a preservative – the more honey the longer it keeps. If you plan on using it within a week, maybe two, you can put in honey to taste. :-)

  5. Can you freeze this and still retain all the benefits?

    • @Sofia, I don’t see why not, though I think I’d freeze it without the honey and add that in later.

      Though with the honey, this should last for quite some time. Many keep it for a month or more, and I’ve never had it go bad.

  6. I have seen it mentioned on other websites to let the berries soak in the water (in the fridge) for 24-48 hours. Do you see any benefit to the longer soak time vs. the 30min simmer?

    • @Thea, The hot water pulls out the medicinal parts of the herb – and you keep it just hot enough to steam – not quite a simmer.

      If you just let them steep in room temp water, it will take longer. I have no idea why you’d steep them in the fridge, it won’t go bad in just a day or two. :-) Plus, with cold water it would take forever, if at all. The hot water helps to break down the cellular walls.

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  8. So, uh oh. Mine has been in the fridge a couple months. Should I not be giving it to my kids anymore? It smells fine…

    • It’s not necessarily bad, mine only lasts a few weeks to a month so I can’t really tell someone exactly how long it’s good for. Plus it all depends on how much sugar is used or if any alcohol is in it, etc. It’s going to vary house to house. :-) My thought is that you’d probably be able to tell if it was bad. ;-)

  9. Is there any reason that you reduce the liquid after steeping instead of just using half as much water for steeping in the first place?

    • It’s just the traditional way to make an herbal decoction. :-) Plus the dried elderberries will swell up, so if you don’t use more water in the beginning they may not be fully covered.

  10. Hi!
    Thanks for the recipe. Its good to DIY as its so expensive to buy out there. From your knowledge, is this suitable for pregnant mummies?

    • As far as I know, yes. Though cinnamon is not recommended for pregnancy so I would make just a simple syrup with elderberry and rose hips. When I’m pregnant I also don’t take it near as often as a preventative and use it only when I’m directly exposed to a virus or when someone in my own home is sick. (I always tend to ere on the side of caution!)

  11. Hello Donielle,
    I just recently became interested in a more natural way of healing (getting tired of pills). I’ve read articles concerning elderberries and medicinal values of this fruit, so of course, I wanted to give syrup making a try. I noticed in the picture above there are light colored (tan-ish) looking berries. What are those? Are they unripened elderberries and should they be removed before processing?

    Thanks,
    Dave

    • Those were probably berries that weren’t quite as ripe as most of them, though not green. I do try to take out all of the green ones, but if they are almost ripe I don’t worry about it. In my experience, I’ve never had an issue with it!

      • Would you say cooking takes away any of the toxicity of the unripe berries?

        • I honestly don’t know, but I’ve always been told not to use unripe berries. I pick out all the green ones before I make syrup, the only ones that get through are the ones that are a lighter red color and those are the ones that are a bit brown in my photo.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] lemon juice, rose hips, cinnamon, and/or other herbs can also add to the medicinal benefits of the elderberry syrup. Mel has a Bachelors Degree in [...]

  2. [...] favorite tutorial for making the syrup is from Donielle of Naturally Knocked Up. Here’s another option for using fresh berries to [...]

  3. [...] key). This Vietnamese chicken soup (Pho Ga) also kicks butt.  Next on my list is to concoct some elderberry syrup, which is widely recognized to have amazing flu-fighting [...]

  4. […] on getting some dried black elderberries to keep on hand. I’ve got several recipes for syrups and tinctures that I want to try. I did some quick calculations, and dried organic berries at $20 a […]

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