The Secret Ingredient
After years of making Elderberry syrups and elixirs I find Fresh or Fresh Frozen Elderberries are the 'secret ingredient' for a super charged syrup. Should your good fortune include fresh berries landing into your hands, pluck them from the stems and flash freeze them on cookie sheets (takes about 1 hour) and then fill your labeled freezer containers. If you need a recipe, I got you covered here. If you only have dried, this is good too and noted in the recipe. A simple request to Elder along with some deep honoring and seeking will draw these black beauties to you in good time. And I got you covered should you decide to delegate the making for your home apothecary to me. I'm always honored to provide when Elder is abundant here. Blessed this year with 30 quarts from this beauty I've been walking with for over a decade now. It's a tenuous thing from year to year. No guarantees ever, like any relationship. But I show up no matter what. Listening is probably the most important thing in our plant relationships too. ElderMoon's Bee Blessed Elderberry Elixir is in stock for your winter needs to keep microbial boundaries strong, fluids running clear, and vitality boosted.
Our Current LOVE of a Recipe
Super passionate here about recipe sharing and honoring creating space for our creative input to riff off of a good solid recipe. This recipe has evolved numerous times and is the current working recipe we lean on until change comes and inspires a new twist. It will. Inspiration always comes. Keep it close in your apothecary and enjoy! Please share your riffs too. I LOVE hearing about what plants inspire you, nudge change, and direct your formula.
The bubbles come from a good shake before dosing here. Do give your syrups and elixirs a good shake before pouring and an honorable home in your refrigerator to lengthen shelf life and give respite from direct sunlight which degrades medicines quickly. Label and date well. I suggest making small batches to use up and give this recipe a 3 month shelf life, but they never last that long. Too delicious!
Syrup or Elixir? Herbalist techniques.
Now the determination of whether it's a syrup or elixir is if the recipe has finished tincture in it (with alcohol) or not. Syrups and elixir bases are often double and triple decocted meaning the shelf life is extended by concentrating the herbs with simmering off extra water content. A decoction (herb and water simmered for 30 minutes) further reduced by half is a double decoction, and further reduced again is a triple decoction. Then honey is added to make a syrup. Here we are making a double decoction and adding honey and finished tinctures, hence I call it an 'elixir'. There are many ways to make syrups and elixirs with the ultimate goal being to extend shelf life and concentrate potency. Without these preparation techniques of the herbalist you will barely get a week before fermenting (not bad so just drink some in your water), but mold and spoilage will become issues. Trust your nose. It always knows when something is questionable or needing a trip to the compost.
ElderMoon's Elderberry Elixir Recipe
2 cups fresh/frozen elderberries (1 cup dried if that's all you have)
2 1/2 cups water
1 inch ginger root fresh, sliced thin
1 lime zested and juiced
2 sticks of cinnamon bark
1 cup wildflower honey
4 tablespoons (2oz.) elecampane root tincture (or a lung herb you love)
4 tablespoons (2oz.) elderberry tincture (or immune herb you love)
1. Combine elderberries, water, cinnamon, and ginger root in a pot and bring a gentle simmer uncovered for 35-45 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
2. Once lukewarm strain through a sieve and press all the juice as best you can from the berries.
3. Stir in honey, tinctures, and lime juice. Label, date, keep refrigerated, and shake well before dosing. Good for 3 months.
Options: A straight good brandy can be added for the tinctures. Herbal infused vinegars or straight apple cider vinegar can be added instead of tinctures but I suggest using up within 1 month.
Dosing: 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per day. Increase dosing to 1 tablespoon every 4 hours while awake with signs and symptoms of microbial invasions.
Frozen Elderberries, lime zest, cinnamon sticks, and water begin the process. Simple straining, measuring, pouring and stirring make the magic happen more. It's starts with the Elder seed (smile) and Great Grandma Nonna Costa always said, "It's all in how we stir it." Whisper in the healing prayers.
Enjoy! May you be blessed with abundance from Elder in all the magical ways that the medicine comes when we're in need and when we can share the overflow.
Much Love, Jen
psst... and should you feel the call to get closer to Elder, have a peek at our plant diet planned for 2019.
Jennifer Costa, Herbalist, Teacher, BS, RN, CST, and Founder of ElderMoon School of Herbs & Earth Medicine