Ellaberry Gardens
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Making Elderberry Syrup

My elderberry beauty, blooming spring 2011

I began making elderberry syrup for my family in 2007 to get us through the cold and flu season.  There are a lot of different concoctions out there but I find that the simpler, the better.  How do you know if the elderberry itself is really helping you if lots of other herbs are in the mix?  So I looked around online and found a prepartion similar to this one and tweaked it a bit for our tastes...simple, simple.  Just elderberries and honey.   Good stuff.

Although our original intent was medicinal, it quickly became one of our family's favorite beverages by mixing a bit of syrup with seltzer water to make an "elderberry soda."  It's also excellent when used to sweeten tea or added to lemonade! Here's how to make your own!

Step 1: Forage for wild elderberries in August (if you live in NE Oklahoma) unless you're blessed enough to have your own trees that produce enough fruit for you.  Either freeze or dry them for long-term storage.  If you have to buy them, that's ok too.

Step 2: (Skip this step if you're using frozen berries!)  If you're using dried berries, reconstitute 1 c. of berries with 1 c. boiling water.  Cover berries with boiling water, cover bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.  Reconstitution may seem like an unncessary step since you'll be cooking the berries anyway but I find that it makes a significant difference in flavor.

Step 3:  If you used dried berries, put the berries, the water they're soaking in, and 3 more cups fresh water in stock pot. If you're using frozen or fresh berries, measure out 1 cup of berries and 4 cups of water into a large pot.

Bring to a rapid boil and reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, for 40 minutes.

Step 4: Strain berries into a large glass bowl through several layers of damp cheesecloth.  Do not squeeze pulp or you'll end up with this green, yucky resin in your juice.  Save the berry pulp for your compost pile...or better yet, your chickens!  Ours love it!

Step 5:  You should now have between 2-3 cups of elderberry juice.  Mix it with exactly equal amounts of Oklahoma raw honey.  You can measure it or just eyeball it in your container because the juice and honey will stay separate until you mix them.  Shake or stir your jar and let mixture cool.  Store in your refrigerator for...well, I'm not sure how long...ours doesn't last long!
But I would use my best educated guess to say it will stay good for weeks and weeks.


To make elderberry sodas:

Put ice in glass and pour in desired amount of seltzer water (ingredients should only be "carbonated water.")  Pour in syrup and mix and taste.  You gotta mix it because the syrup is heavy and just sinks.  Some of us like it sweeter than others and require more syrup.  You'll have to play with it to get the right ratio for you.  This is a fabulous, healthy, refreshing drink for any time of year!

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