Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe


* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

Elderberries are well known for their ability to boost immunity and treat cold and flu symptoms. Enjoy the many medicinal benefits of elderberries with this homemade elderberry syrup recipe, made with immune-boosting spices and raw, unpasteurized honey. #elderberrysyrup #homemadeelderberrysyrup #elderberrysyruprecipeElderberry syrup has gained popularity in recent years as a natural but powerful herbal remedy, particularly for treating colds and flu. After all, elderberries are packed with immune-boosting vitamins and antioxidants, and scientific study after scientific study has shown the efficacy of elderberries when it comes to easing cold and flu symptoms.

But there’s also some important safety information you should know about using elderberries and elderberry syrup,so before you skip to the bottom of this post to get my recipe for homemade elderberry syrup, I encourage you to take a moment to read through the following info. and brush up on your elderberry knowledge first.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified herbalist or health care practitioner. This information is for educational and entertainment purposes only, and you should always speak with your doctor or health care provider before using herbal remedies as part of your healthcare routine. Just because something is natural does not automatically make it safe, and there may be ingredients in the recipe I’m about to share with you that can interfere with certain medications and medical conditions. Always use good judgment and speak with your doctor before using medicinal herbs. You can read my full disclaimer here.

 

What are elderberries?

Elderberries are the fruit (berries) of the Sambucus tree/shrub. There are two types of edible elderberry plants: Sambucus nigra (European elderberry) and Sambucus canadensis (North American elderberry).

Both of these varieties produce black elderberries, which are both edible and medicinal. There are also red elderberries (Sambucus racemosa) but these red elderberries are poisonous and should never be consumed.

The Sambucus (Elder) plants first produce elderflowers in the spring. These tiny, delicate white flowers grow in clusters and are also edible. In the summer, the elderflowers die and leave behind small black elderberries.

While these black elderberries are both edible and medicinal, they must be cooked first as raw elderberries contain toxins, including glycosides that can cause a buildup of cyanide in the body.

 

Related: A Peek Inside My Natural Medicine Cabinet

 

Are elderberries toxic?

If eaten raw, elderberries can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which is probably the last thing you want at any time really, but especially if you’re already feeling sick.

Once cooked, however, elderberries are perfectly edible and still retain all of their medicinal properties.

Elderberries are well known for their ability to boost immunity and treat cold and flu symptoms. Enjoy the many medicinal benefits of elderberries with this homemade elderberry syrup recipe, made with immune-boosting spices and raw, unpasteurized honey. #elderberrysyrup #homemadeelderberrysyrup #elderberrysyruprecipe

 

Medicinal benefits of elderberries

Elderberries are high in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, as well as antiviral and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Elderberries -and elderberry syrup in particular- are best known for their ability to help boost immunity and ease cold and flu symptoms such as fever, headaches, muscle pain, sore throat and nasal congestion. Lesser known medicinal benefits include elderberries’ ability to help ease constipation (presumably due to their high fibre content), lower blood pressure, soothe inflammatory skin conditions, including acne, and reduce wrinkles.

 

Related: How to Make Traditional Fire Cider

 

Is elderberry syrup safe for kids?

Yes. Elderberry syrup is generally considered safe for children over the age of one. Raw honey can cause infant botulism in very young children so this syrup should not be given to children under the age of one.

 

Fresh vs. dried elderberries (and where to buy elderberries)

You can use fresh or dried elderberries to make elderberry syrup. If you’re growing your own elderberries then by all means use the fresh berries to make your elderberry syrup! Or you can dry them in a dehydrator or oven and then use the dried berries. However if you’re not growing your own elderberries, then you best option is to purchase dried elderberries and use those to make your syrup.

If using fresh elderberries, use twice as much. For example, this recipe calls for one cup of dried elderberries, so if using fresh elderberries, use two cups instead.

Even if you have to buy some dried elderberries, they go quite a long way and you’ll get quite a few batches of elderberry syrup out of a bag of dried elderberries, so this is still a much cheaper option than buying elderberry syrup from your local pharmacy or health food store.

We planted a couple elderberry bushes in the spring, but they’re going to take a few seasons to get established and start producing enough elderberries for us to harvest. So in the meantime, I use dried elderberries.

In the past I’ve used Starwest Botanicals brand dried elderberries and I’ve been very happy with them. However lately I’ve been using dried elderberries from Farmhouse Teas (which is also where I get my herbal tea blends for flavouring my kombucha).

Farmhouse Teas also caries an Herbal Elderberry Syrup Kit,  which is an herbal blend that includes all organic ingredients including dried elderberries, orange peel, rose hips, astragalus, echinacea, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. I’ve used this kit to make my own elderberry syrup before and it’s a pretty strong contender with the recipe I’m sharing with you here!

Whether you opt for making your own elderberry syrup using this recipe or would prefer a ready-made kit, Farmhouse Teas is currently having a buy one get one at 20% off sale on all of their dried elderberry products from now through Saturday (September 10th, 2022). This discount also applies to the Dump & Go Mix Trio, which includes their elderberry syrup kit, as well as a dry fire cider kit and wild cherry bark syrup kit.

Right now you can buy one and get one for 20% off, plus get free shipping on all orders over $59 in the U.S. Get your elderberries here and save!

Elderberries are well known for their ability to boost immunity and treat cold and flu symptoms. Enjoy the many medicinal benefits of elderberries with this homemade elderberry syrup recipe, made with immune-boosting spices and raw, unpasteurized honey. #elderberrysyrup #homemadeelderberrysyrup #elderberrysyruprecipe

 

How to make homemade elderberry syrup

By making your own elderberry syrup, you’ll not only save money (have you seen how expensive bottles of elderberry syrup are at the store?), you’ll also get to customize your elderberry syrup by adding in a variety of other medicinal (and delicious) herbs and spices.

To make a basic elderberry syrup all you need to do is add one cup of elderberries and four cups of water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by about half (roughly 25 to 30 minutes).

Strain out the elderberries, reserving the liquid and mix in one cup of raw, unpasteurized honey. Transfer to a bottle (I use these amber glass bottles, but a Mason jar or other glass bottle will work too) and store in the fridge for up to 6 months.

However the recipe I’m about to share with you also calls for cinnamon, cloves, ginger and lemon, all of which have medicinal properties of their own. But you can choose to omit one or all of these additional ingredients if you like. Or you can add in other medicinal herbs like rosemary or thyme. Customize away

 

My favourite elderberry syrup recipe

This is my favourite recipe for homemade elderberry syrup. It begins and ends with the basics (elderberries and raw, unpasteurized honey), but I also add cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel and cloves.

Not only does this syrup taste amazing, the added ingredients possess potent medicinal properties of their own.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and high in antioxidants.

Ginger: Ginger is antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, as well as being a potent antioxidant. Ginger is also well known for its ability to ease nausea and soothe upset stomachs.

Cloves: Cloves are antiseptic, antiviral, antimicrobial and anti- inflammatory, and are known for their ability to help ease sore throats.

Lemon peel: Antimicrobial. antifungal, high in antioxidants and vitamin C.

Unpasteurized Honey: Antibacterial, antifungal, high in antioxidants and helps to ease inflammation and sooth sore throats.

Add all of the powerhouse ingredients along with the elderberries and you’ve got a powerful herbal medicine that tastes good enough to pour over pancakes in the morning;)

 

Related: Homemade Vitamin C Powder

 

How to use elderberry syrup

Finally, you should probably know how to use your elderberry syrup once you’ve made it.

Preventative use: Due to its immune boosting properties, elderberry syrup is most effective when taken regularly as a preventative measure Take one to two teaspoons daily.

Curative use: If you’ve come down with a cold or flu, increase dosage up to 4 tablespoons per day until symptoms subside.

Culinary uses: You can also use elderberry syrup in place of other types of fruit or maple syrup and pour over pancakes, waffles or ice cream, or add to soda water for a refreshing drink!

 

Elderberries are well known for their ability to boost immunity and treat cold and flu symptoms. Enjoy the many medicinal benefits of elderberries with this homemade elderberry syrup recipe, made with immune-boosting spices and raw, unpasteurized honey. #elderberrysyrup #homemadeelderberrysyrup #elderberrysyruprecipe

Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Yield: Approx. 3 cups
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried elderberries (or 2 cups fresh elderberries, washed and stems removed)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup raw unpasteurized honey
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly grated/chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel

Instructions

  1. Add elderberries, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, lemon peel and water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by about half (approx. 25-30 minutes).
  2. Remove from heat and let steep for another 5 minutes or so. Then strain out the solids and reserve the liquid.
  3. Add the honey to the liquid and stir until dissolved. Transfer to a bottle or jar (a Mason jar works well) and store in the fridge for up to 6 months.

 

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

16 Comments

  1. charlene kinne

    Can I use frozen elderberries in this recipe?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Yes, absolutely!

      Reply
  2. Diane

    We harvested the berries locally so we are making a double batch. Is it possible to freeze the syrup so that it will last longer?

    Reply
    • Ashley Constance

      Yes, you can absolutely freeze it. Most sources say it will last about 6 months in the freezer. Some people like to freeze it in ice cube trays to make for easy thawing and dosing. -Ashley (assistant)

      Reply
  3. Monika

    What is the shelf life of the syrup? What is the difference between your recipe and the elderberry syrup they sell in stores to boost ones immune system? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ashley Constance

      Hi Monika, the syrup can be stored for up to 6 months in the fridge.

      As for the difference between this recipe and store-bought syrups… it really depends what you’re comparing it to. But generally, the benefit of making your own syrup comes down to cost (it’s generally much cheaper to make your own) and control over the quality and kinds of ingredients that you add. Enjoy! -Ashley (assistant)

      Reply
  4. Tina King

    Could I just dehydrate them and powder them and put them in capsules and take?

    Reply
  5. Julie

    Is there any that this syrup could be made in a slow cooker. I am always worried about how much goodness will be lost through the high heat of boiling

    Reply
    • Ashley Constance

      I don’t see why not, as long as the berries get thoroughly cooked. However, to get a syrupy consistency, you do need to simmer it until it’s reduced by about half, as per the recipe. It may be worth looking for a similar recipe that specifically uses a slow cooker, as the directions may differ.

      Reply
  6. Jeanne

    Can this syrup be canned? If so any idea how long to process in canner? Looks like a great recipe! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Jeanne,
      I would caution against canning this exact recipe for elderberry syrup as it hasn’t been tested as being safe for canning. I did find a great article explaining how to can elderberry juice (which you could then turn into syrup). The article explains that some elderberries have a higher PH than others and there’s no really way to know for sure what the PH is of the elderberries you’re using, so it calls for the addition of citric acid or lemon juice. You can read the article here. The other thing is that I wouldn’t can it with honey as the temperatures from the boiling water bath will kill off any of the beneficial properties of the honey and it will simply become a sweetener. It’s best to add the honey once the juice has cooled a bit so that you don’t inadvertently kill off the beneficial enzymes in the raw honey.

      Reply
  7. Annette Williams

    Can you reuse the dried elderberries after making a batch ( I’m a first-timer)

    Reply
    • Tish Painter

      Hi Annette,
      Once you use your dried elderberries to make syrup, their nutritional/medicinal goodness is used up. Some people have been able to dehydrate them again and make a tea but you are really just looking for some flavor and not the medicinal benefits. And it won’t have as much flavor as it did when you made the syrup.
      Most people just put them in their compost to nourish the soil instead. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Becky

    How much do you take of the syrup?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Becky,
      I usually take about a tablespoon per day, which is what I give to my daughter too. I know some people eat it over their pancakes or ice cream, so it’s not like most modern cough syrups where you have to be more cautious about how much you take. I wouldn’t overdo it, but we usually take one or even two Tablespoons per day for prevention and up it to four tablespoons a day if/when we get sick. Four tablespoons a day is what is typically recommended to help treat cold and flu symptoms.

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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