Its elderberry season in New England. Time to start checking your favorite stand of bushes for ripe fruits and getting there before the critters get them all!
Elderberry is my favorite antiviral ally- I use it frequently (almost always) during cold, flu, and have seen it work work wonders in cases of HSV1 & 2 and Shingles. I use it all winter long as a tonic and the recipe I'm sharing below is a most delicious way of getting elderberry goodness on a daily basis. If I feel like I'm coming down with something, I take elderberry every hour, or as often as I remember. In addition, if you know you'll be in a place or period of time nearby others who are ill or are susceptible to getting the winter blarghs, take elderberries before, during and after exposures.
Most famous is Elderberry Syrup. This is my recipe for elderberry syrup that is uncooked and made from dried berries. I prefer not to boil my fruits to death when making syrups. If you have fresh berries, you can modify the recipe to cook the berries slightly to get them to release their medicine.
Elderberry Elixir, is a favorite among herbalists all over, and is another delicious and easy way to get your elderberries everyday.
But my favorite, which I can never make enough of, is Elderberry Shrub! What is elderberry shrub? I mean, we know elder is a shrub...but huh?
A shrub is a mixture of fruit, vinegar and often honey. It can be made with any delicious summer fruits or berries you like. Rose hips, raspberries, black berries, blueberries, hawthorn etc. This is used as a concentrate to add to refreshing beverages all year round. I like to mix my shrub concentrate with sparkling water for an almost soda like treat, with a medicinal punch. But it is delicious added to juices, water, or even by the spoonful! I use approximately a tablespoon or two of shrub per 8 oz cup of sparkling water. Your milage may vary.
1/2 qt fresh or dried elderberries
1 qt (more or less) apple cider vinegar
1/3 c raw honey ( you may use more if you like it sweeter)
Place berries in a jar, add honey, and pour vinegar over the top of the fruits until the jar is full. Cap well (keep in mind vinegar will eat away at metal lids, you may choose to use a plastic lid or line your metal lid with waxed paper) and shake vigourously. Wait 4 weeks. Shake frequently.
Strain, and reserve liquid in a pretty jar for gifting, or in another container for storage. I keep mine in the fridge right next to the sparkly water, but you don't need to keep it cold once it is made. It should keep 3-6 months or possibly longer stored in a dark, cool area.
Drink frequently! Yum!
What are your favorite Elderberry preparations and how do you use them!?