Welcome to my second Recipe Friday. (If you missed the first one, click here.)
It’s the season for prevention!
All year long is a good time to build up your immune system. (See my immune system pointers in this blog – along with Wardee’s Elderberry Gummies; some cold and flu remedies here; and a recipe for Vitamin C chews here.) But autumn is a good time to start your remedy-making, to make sure you’ve got medicinal therapies ready, and to give you and your family a boost to prepare for cold season.
Elderberry Syrup is one of the best-known remedies, and for good reason. Elderberries prevent viruses from replicating in the body, and so shorten the duration and severity of a cold or flu bug.
If you grow your own elderberry bushes, high five! You have an organic, natural, and accessible treatment available to you. [Note: Besides the berries, the elder flowers are also beneficial. Be sure to harvest no more than 1/5 of the flowers on any bush, to make sure you have enough berries in the fall.]
If you don’t have elder bushes, try local farmers’ markets. A third option is to buy dried elderberries at a health food store or online (vitacost.com or amazon.com are good sources). Make sure they are organic.
Ideas for using elderberries:
- Take a dose of 1 teaspoon of elderberry syrup as soon as you notice a cold coming on; you can take it every two hours. Because this is food, you can take it as often as needed before or during a cold or flu.
- Add some elderberry syrup to your daily drinking water.
- Boil elderberries (fresh or dried) into a tea with other herbs, and sip.
- Make elderberry gummies by adding unflavored (organic) gelatin. Pour into candy molds, or into a pan and then cut into dosage sizes. Organic gelatin is beneficial to your overall health and to your gut.
- ½ cup dried elderberries
- 3 cups of filtered water
- 1 cup of raw local honey (or less, to taste)
- Optional ingredients:
- ½ cup dried yarrow leaves and flowers (Yarrow makes you sweat, and tricks your body into fighting the virus, even before it takes hold. It’s also beneficial for the lungs.)
- ½ cup dried hawthorn berries (very high in Vitamin C)
- Juice from a 2-inch piece of ginger root (juice it by pressing through a garlic press)
- Orange or lemon peel
- Cinnamon stick
- Simmer the elderberries and filtered water together in a covered pan for 30 minutes. (If you add more ingredients, such as the yarrow and hawthorn berries, add more water, 1 cup for every half cup of extra ingredient.)
- Mash the elderberries (and optional other ingredients) with a potato masher (remove a cinnamon stick before mashing).
- Strain the elderberries from the juice:
- Pour through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, then bundle up the elderberries in the cheesecloth and squeeze out all the elderberry juice.
- Or use a potato ricer
- Simmer the juice, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, to let it concentrate.
- Allow the juice to cool until it’s just warm-hot.
- Add the raw honey and stir thoroughly to incorporate the honey. Do not heat again.
- (If making gummies, add ¼ cup gelatin for every 2 cups of liquid. Whisk in carefully so it doesn’t clump.)
- If using, add the ginger juice.
- [If making gummies, pour into molds or glass pan.]
- Allow the syrup to cool.
Store in an airtight glass jar (i.e., mason jar) in the refrigerator.