Being sick is the best! Said no one ever. Other than perhaps a man with a man cold who likes getting a little extra attention. But man colds aside, being sick is the pits. Especially when you have a house full of young children and the flu and cold bugs just keep getting passed round and round and round.. “I’ve heard winter activities are quite pleasant, but we haven’t been able to get out much due to all of this sickness…” “What? There is life outside of barf and fevers and staying up with multiple sick children while I carry around a barf bucket of my own?” Don’t lie. We’ve all been there. Let us curse together in remembrance.
Enter homemade elderberry syrup. Not only do elderberries contain immune-enhancing properties, they also have powerful antiviral properties that are helpful in treating viral infections. When cooked, elderberries are completely safe for old and young alike. In some people, when large amounts of fresh elderberries are consumed they can cause diarrhea and upset stomach.
Prior to this year, when one child would come down with a bug, I would run to the store and shell out my money for precious elderberry syrup. I would give it to everyone else (myself included), and the vast majority of the time no one else would get sick. Seriously. I initially thought it was a fluke. Can it really work this well? But it’s proven itself over and over and over. It even aided our fight in keeping dreaded Hand Foot Mouth Disease to one child.
I have always wanted to be able to give it to each family member as a daily supplement during the winter, but because of the cost I have not been able to do so. And then I found out how easy and cheap it is to make your own. Enter happy dance.
It really is so simple. There are a million versions out there, and it’s really hard to mess up. The best part? My kids love it. LOVE it. When they see me pulling the jar out of the fridge in the mornings they all come running. And no need to save it for medicinal purposes. It serves as a pretty tasty pancake syrup too.
Ingredients for homemade Elderberry Syrup
½ C dried elderberries (I got this batch from mountainroseherbs.com, but they are also available on Amazon.)
2 ½ C water
1 tsp ground Ginger(optional)
1-2 Cinnamon Sticks (optional)
½-1 tsp Clove powder (optional)
¾ C honey or Glycerine (can be used interchangeably in the recipe, but honey is cheaper)
Directions for making homemade Elderberry Syrup
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan or dutch oven. Remove from heat, add elderberries and cover. I like to let the elderberries steep for 1-2 hours. Does it make a huge difference? I don’t know. Probably not, but I do it anyway.
Add ginger, cinnamon, and clove powder if using. They are not necessary ingredients, but we like the taste they lend, and they have awesome medicinal properties of their own!
Bring mixture back to a boil, cover again, reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer for about 45 minutes, until liquid is reduced by around half. Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm.
Pour through a fine mesh strainer and discard elderberries and cinnamon sticks. Stir in honey or glycerin (or a combination of both to equal ¾ C). Honey is not my favorite taste, so if I have glycerin on hand, I will use some of it in place of the honey. My kids and husband don’t mind the full honey taste at all.
Pour into a pint sized mason jar and refrigerate. It should keep for several months in the fridge. For a daily immune boosting supplement give ½-1 tsp for kids over 1, and ½-1 Tbsp for adults. When you feel a bug coming on, take the regular dose every 2-3 hours until symptoms subside.
Now let’s cost compare to the store bought version.
At my local grocery store, a 4 fl oz bottle costs $16.99 or $4.25 per ounce. Pricey stuff, but I’m a sucker. This stuff is worth its weight in gold. And diamonds. And whatever is selling for the highest price on the black market.
Our homemade version costs the following:
Elderberries: $2.25 (not including shipping costs which can vary from free-$5)
Spices: less than $.50
Total Price for 16 oz of homemade elderberry syrup: $4.45, or about $.278 per ounce.
That means our homemade version, without shipping is 98% cheaper. Seriously!!!!! This is one of my most cost efficient recipes ever. Even with paying for full priced shipping it’s still a heckuva save.
How about you? Are you already a fan of Elderberry? What are your favorite herbal immune boosting recipes?