Now is the time to start getting ready for cold and flu season. I am always trying to do what I can for my family to help boost our immune systems and have found using elderberry syrup to be extremely beneficial. One study has shown that an extract in elderberries can shorten the duration of the flu by 3 days. At first I was intimidated by the thought of making my own syrup but it is very easy. My kids love the taste of it and now I have even started making elderberry gummies—game changer!!
- What exactly are elderberries? They are a member of the honeysuckle family and are a small tree that grows flowers with the berry.
- Where do they come from? It is most prevalent in the Northeastern and Northwestern parts of the US and Canada, however you can find it in other areas as well. In fact our tour guide in Alaska commented that he actually picks fresh elderberries. Jealous! I get mine dried from the Wichita Falls Natural Grocers.
- Why are they so great for overall health? They are high in vitamin A, bioflavonoids and iron to name a few. Elderberries contain more Vitamin C than any plant besides rosehips and black currants.
1 cup dried elderberries
4 cups water
1 inch fresh ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup raw, organic honey
NOTE: I am obsessed with my Instant Pot and use it as often as possible. The recipe I use and have put here is from http://instantloss.com/2017/09/18/instant-pot-elderberry-syrup-homemade-gummies/.
- Place all ingredients, except honey, into the Instant Pot.
- Put the lid on the pot and make sure the valve is in the SEALING position.
- Select MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK and using the +/- buttons, select 12 minutes.
- When finished administer a QUICK RELEASE, moving the valve from SEALING to VENTING.
- Press CANCEL and then SAUTEE. Sautee for 10 minutes until liquid is reduced by half. You do not need to stir.
- Mash berries with a potato masher and then pour through a strainer. Let liquid cool to room temp before adding honey. If the honey is added when the liquid is too hot it can break down the enzymes in the raw honey. It will be a thinner consistency, unlike a traditional syrup.
- It can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. Children should take ½-1 teaspoon per day and adults 1 ½ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per day during cold and flu season. When sick you can increase usage to every 2-3 hours until illness resolves. Extra syrup can be frozen in ice cube trays for later use.
This can also easily be made on the stovetop with a few adaptations. Bring all of the ingredients except for the honey to a boil, reduce heat until it simmers, let it simmer until it reduces by about half and pour off liquid. Continue as stated above.
1 cup warmed elderberry syrup
1 tablespoon gelatin (I bought mine in a canister at Wichita Falls Natural Grocers)
- Combine syrup and gelatin. Whisk until completely dissolved.
- Spray a gummy bear silicone mold (I got mine from Amazon) with coconut oil. Use a dropper to fill molds.
- Molds should be kept in the refrigerator overnight or until gummies solidify. The gummies must be kept refrigerated or they will melt.
Don’t have an Instant Pot? After the first of the year we will be doing a give away for one. Keep watching to see how you could be the winner!
By Dr. Cari Guidry-Owner, Chiropractor & Mom