Let’s chat a bit about this lovely time of year. Everyone is sleep deprived from all of the post-holiday travel, kids are sick, coworkers are coughing within an arms reach, and catching a miserable cold in the New Year seems inevitable.
I’ve never been a huge fan of over the counter cough syrups that are loaded with chemicals that may temporarily relieve symptoms, but give me that weird, lightheaded feeling all day. When I approached a natural remedies booth at a local craft fair before the holiday season, I was super excited to see what was in store. I discovered this delightful concoction said to strengthen the immune system to prevent colds, and also shorten the duration of the bugs that happen to make their way into the body. Woo hoo! Two things stuck out to me when making this initial purchase:
1) Awesome! A natural health product that tastes good and won’t affect my productivity by making my head spin!
2) Ooo…$10.00 for 4 oz?
I did a little research and found that elderberry syrup is commonly sold in health food stores, but the price tag can be even more steep. ($10-15 for 4 oz.) Since the vendor at the local craft fair noted that there were only 3 ingredients in her syrup, I ventured out to find a recipe online (have I sung the praises of pinterest?).
Elderberries weren’t readily available, but a simple amazon search, a click of that little “Buy Now with One-Click” button (dangerous, I tell you), and I had the dried berries in less than a week. I found mine here. In addition to this, I needed a few other supplies which were easily found at the local grocery store.
Cost for 24 oz. of homemade elderberry syrup:
Elderberries: $6.00 ($14.99+$4.99 shipping)
Raw honey: $4.50 ($8.99 for 16 oz.)
Mason Jar with lid: $2.49
Total for 24 oz=$15.98
To compare, 4 oz. retails for typically between $10-15. 4 oz of homemade elderberry syrup costs less than $3.
I think I win.
The whole process of making homemade elderberry syrup is far less intimidating than you may think.
Put the dry berries in a pot.
Cover the dry berries with water.
Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for awhile.
Measure out the raw honey.
Throw the raw honey into a bowl or jar (I did it all in the jar so I didn’t have to transfer the syrup later).
Line your colander with cheesecloth. This might not be necessary if you have a fine mesh colander.
Pour the liquid through, smash the berries to extract all of the juices, and if you’re feeling like purple hands will work for you, give the cheesecloth a little squeeze to get the last bit of liquid out.
Pour into your jar, give it a good stir, and stick it in the fridge to cool the rest of the way.
DIY Elderberry Syrup for Immune Support
Adapted from Stitch and Boots
- 1/2 cup dried elderberries
- 1 cup raw honey
- 3 cups filtered water
Place dried elderberries into a pot and cover with filtered water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat simmer on low for 30-40 minutes. In the meantime, measure out 1 cup of raw honey and place into a quart sized mason jar. Line a colander with cheesecloth or muslin, and to avoid messes, place a funnel under the colander to catch any liquid. Place colander (and funnel if using) over the mason jar. Once done simmering berries, turn off heat to allow to cool slightly. Once cooled, pour liquid and berries into the lined colander, smashing berries with a wooden spoon to extract juices. If necessary, remove cheesecloth containing berries to squeeze out excess liquid by hand. Stir to combine honey and elderberry juices. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
2 tbsp. daily for immune support. Repeat this throughout the day if ill.
1 tbsp. daily for immune support. Do not use for infants or children under 1 year old.