September and the  fruit in our hedgerows is ripening, Blackberries, Elderberries and Damsons.Of these Elderberry is the star, so easy to identify, tasty and so good for us. wild food mary - forager Ireland - logo
Elderberries are rich in Vit C, they also contain high levels of flavonoids which inhibit the ability of flu virus to enter cells.
Elderberries are packed with all the essential amino acids, Vit A, B C and H, calcium, magnesium and Iron.Thus Elderberry is a strong immune strengthening herb, available to us all for just a little effort.

They act as tonic, antibacterial,anti-inflammatory, and expectorant, Elderberries are our best native plant for warding off winter colds and flu.At least as beneficial as Echinacea, free and local.
They can be used in relishes chutneys, jellies and syrups. They also contain high levels of tannins which makes these little beauties perfect for making homemade wine.I use Elderberry wine to blend with other fruit wines.
Here is a simple recipe for syrup which stores well, take a spoonful every day as winter tonic or every few hours at first sign of infection.

Elderberry Syrup, spiced.
Syrups are very versatile, they make a great warming drink, can be drizzled over ice-cream or pancakes or added to smoothies or even sauces.A Spoonful over porridge or in yogurt in morning. This is my favourite winter syrup. Bursting with goodness and so effective at keeping cold and flu away. Great added to a hot port.
I usually add cloves and cinnamon bark to the mix to give it extra warmth, you could try organic lemon juice and zest or organic orange jest

Equipment,
Saucepan, stainless steel if you have.
Jelly bag or old pillow slip for straining
Measuring jug
Weighing scales,
Bottles to store your syrup.screw top or clip top.

Ingredients
Elderberries stripped from stems, enough to half fills your saucepan.
Water,
Cloves,
Cinnamon stick.
Sugar.white, unrefined or Demerara.(you can use xylitol for a sugar free version)

Method,
Put berries in pan and cover with water, bring to boil and boil for 15 mins.Strain through jelly bag or pillow slip, squeezing to extract as much juice as possible.
Sterilize bottles in oven ( not essential if for home use) 20 mins at 160.
Rinse sausepan and measure juice. For every litre of juice add 700grms sugar or xylitol to taste. Add cloves and cinnamon, about 8 cloves and 3cm cinnamon per litre.Heat and stir to dissolve sugar.bring to boil, turn off heat and allow to cool a little before bottling.
Bottle and allow to cool completely before storing in cool dark place or fridge, keeps very well, at least a year.

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