Updated: Sep 13, 2019
These tiny berries pack a punch when it comes to health, and this is the best way to get them into your everyday life.
Elderberries contain such a wealth of health promoting properties and as we go into the winter months it’s time to shore up your immune system and overall health.
They contain unique bioactive polyphenols. These are super-powerful antioxidants that support immune function and cardiovascular health and they protect from tissue damage. There are also studies that show elderberries can protect against nervous tissue damage and Parkinson Disease as well as support brain and memory function.
You can purchase elder syrups and supplements, but there nothing like making it yourself.
If you or someone you know has an elder tree in your garden, then it’s time to harvest the berries. You can also buy dried berries in bulk, soak them overnight and then use the following recipe to make an extraordinary cordial (or as I like to think of it a magic potion for health)
Avoid eating the elderberries raw as they can give you diarrhoea - I've just used them for a garnish in pic above for the photo. Cooking them removes this risk. Over eating any berry can cause loose stools.
What you will need:
A stainless-steel cooking pan (avoid aluminium if possible) – size depends on how many berries you have as you will need to cover them with water.
A strainer (you can use muslin)
A glass bottle for storage.
Juice and chopped rind of one organic lemon per litre of water – so half a lemon for half a litre.
Lemon or Lime/s
Rapa Dura sugar or molasses or honey - in moderation
Harvest the berries and place them in water to wash and allow the unripe ones to float to surface,
scoop any green or light berries off the surface. Don’t worry too much about bits that are hard to get out, you will strain this later. Place in the pan and just cover to top of berries with water. Add the lemon or lime.
With dried berries you can soak overnight retain any water and add more if you need to.
Elderberries don’t contain sugar unless it has been added when dried. You don’t need to add any, but to take the edge off the bitter flavour, you can add a little Rapa Dura, or honey or even molasses in a small amount.
This is the advantage of making your own; bought syrups and juice drinks tend to have more added fruit sugar.
Bring to boil, stirring the berries and then turn to a low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Take off the heat and allow to cool, strain the berries into the jug, do this a little at a time mashing the mixture down with a fork to squeeze as much out as possible.
Place the squeezed mixture back into the pan and place enough filtered water to create a thick mixture to bring back to boil and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Repeat the straining. Fill your glass bottle with the precious potion.
You don’t need to add anymore sugar to make it taste better, you can do this when you add to other things like smoothies or drinks.
Take 1-2 tspns in the morning everyday
And / or use this delicious and beautiful elixir to give amazing colour and
health properties to other foods:
Recipes with the Elder Elixir
Kefir smoothies – apple, cinnamon, semi-ripe banana, flaxseed, spinach
Natural yogurt – richly coloured with elder syrup, thickened with chia seeds and sweetened with manuka honey.
Sparkling elder – ice, elder elixir, slice of lime, sparkling water. Optional for a sweeter drink use tonic water.
Elder dressing – olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, elder elixir, pinch ground pepper and pink salt. Delicious with goat’s cheese and beetroot salad, or red cabbage, radish, and fresh pea coleslaw.
Ruby porridge – oats, oat milk, hemp and flax seeds, with chopped dried prunes and pumpkin seeds – stir in the elder elixir and watch the magic.
Purple pancakes – brown rice flour, egg, cinnamon, oat milk and elder elixir. Cook on low heat.
Elder tea – add a little elixir to a cooled green tea, or any other herbal tea
Elder water – add a very small amount to a jug a fresh filtered water giving
it a super-special colour and filled with antioxidants.
There are so many things you can do with this magical elixir to protect your health this winter.
If you don't know where you can locate an elder tree, don't worry you can buy dried berries online: https://www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk/organic-elderberries-125g.html
You can make a super healthy cordial from other berries with the same approach as above:
blueberries, blackcurrants, blackberries, raspberries and many more. Add no or less sugar with the sweeter berries.