Elderberries are one berry that certainly do not get enough attention! They have a multitude of health benefits that date back to Native American use, and they have just as many ways to consume them!
Why Are They So Beneficial?
Elderberries are packed with many nutrients including 87% of your recommend daily vitamin C (they contain more vitamin C than any other plant except rosehips, and black currants), vitamin A, iron, fiber, potassium, B6 and betacarotene.They are known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer properties as well as being antioxidant rich. Because of these properties they are great for fighting flus and colds, decreasing congestion, conjunctivitis, decreasing arthritic pain, and aiding with upset stomach and gas to name a few. The flowers can also be used on the skin, for burns and wounds, and to relax sore muscles.
[Note: some doctors suggest pregnant and nursing women avoid elderberries, always consult your primary health care provider before consuming these while pregnant or nursing]
How To Eat Them:
Elderberries can be consumed many different ways from, jams and jellies, to dressings, and even wine! You could eat them raw as a berry, but they are very tart and most people don’t care for it. The most common way you hear about these berries used today is in elderberry syrup, which is used as a natural remedy for colds, flus, and weakened immune system.
[Caution when harvesting them yourself; while the berries and flowers are edible, the leaves and stems are poisonous if consumed, as well as unripe berries- make sure only to pick the blue/black berries and not ones that are green.]
Where to Find Them:
You can get dried elderberries here. Or you could plant your own! We planted our first elderberry bush this past fall (it even had a few berries on it when planted). I am excited for spring to see how our little plant faired through the winter. Praying for berries this fall! You can also buy already made elderberry syrup if you aren’t wanting to make it yourself! However you choose to get it, I highly recommend incorporating them into your diet!
Elderberry Syrup Recipe:
• 3 cups water
• 1/2 cup dried elderberries.
• 1 tbs Ginger
• 1/2 tsp Clove
• 1 Cinnamon
• 1 cup raw Honey [note: it is not recommend that children under 12 months of age consume honey, consult your doctor before giving this to children under 12 months]
1. Add the water, berries, ginger, clove and cinnamon sticks to a large pot and bring to boil
2. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes uncovered, until the liquid has reduced to about half 3.Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, and mash the berries with a spoon to get out the juices
4. Pour over a cheese cloth and strainer into a glass bowl, push the berries in the strainer with a spoon to remove any extra juice, discard anything left in the strainer (berries and cinnamon sticks)
5. Allow to cool to lukewarm and then stir in 1 cup of honey
6. Pour into mason jars and your DONE!
→Typical Dosage: 1/2tsp- 1tsp for children 1/2tbs – 1tbs for adults daily. If the flu does strike take standard dose every 3 hours. [Consulting with an herbalist or naturopath for proper dose for your family is always a good idea!]
→ Can be stored in the fridge for months!
→ If you won’t be using all the syrup in a few months you can also freeze it. Or you can make a double batch and freeze some in ice cubes trays and thaw as needed! (I recommend freezing without the honey and adding that in once thawed).
Have you tried elderberries? How do you like to use them?
Here’s to living a life that makes your soul smile,
Read more on the benefits of Elderberries: