Turning elderberries into a delicious, lightly-spiced syrup is incredibly easy. But before we begin, it is essential to note that eating raw elderberries is not advised as they are toxic when uncooked. In this recipe, however, they are brought to the boil, then simmered, making them fine to eat or drink.
If you can harvest the berries in season, it is almost free to make. If you aren’t lucky enough to be able to collect the berries, they are available both frozen and dried and can be used to make the syrup, though you will only need 1/2 the quantity if using dried.
- 4 cups fresh or frozen elderberries (or 2 cups dried)
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 tablespoons organic honey
- 2 slices fresh lemon
- 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
- 2 cloves
- 1 small cinnamon stick
Gather the ingredients. Making elderberry syrup can be a messy business and the juice can stain fingers (and clothes), so wear an apron and disposable gloves.
Before you begin, check through all the elderberries and pick out any dead ones, bits of twigs, leaves, etc.
Place the berries and water into a stainless-steel pan and bring to a gentle boil, lower the heat and simmer for twenty minutes. Avoid boiling the mixture as this will destroy some of the fresh flavor in the berries.
While the berries are simmering, every 5 minutes press the berries with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher to release the juice.
Line a fine sieve with a cheesecloth of a muslin cloth, tip the contents of the pan into the sieve and leave it to drip. Then, donning your plastic gloves, give the berries a good squeeze by gathering up the cloth and twisting it to stop them from escaping and squeeze hard. Discard the berries once all the juice is out. You should have around 2 cups.
Return the juice to a clean stainless-steel pan, add the honey, lemon, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the syrup starts to thicken, about 15 minutes.
Strain again and pour the syrup into a clean, sterilized jar.
- Consuming raw elderberries can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Be sure to following cooking instructions in this recipe and resist the urge to snack on any of the raw berries.
- The syrup keeps well in the refrigerator for up to six months and can also be frozen.
- This delicious warming syrup can be used in many ways, including spooned over pancakes, waffles, and ice cream. Swirl the syrup through yogurt, porridge, or add to a smoothie or your favorite Acai bowl. The syrup also makes a lovely tea or even taken on its own. It's also delicious mixed in with seltzer water or sparkling wine, for a festive, cooling summer drink.
- If you wish to changes the spices in the syrup to other favorites then do, cardamon, star anise. and licorice all work well.