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This time of year when the days start to get a little shorter and the evenings get a little colder, we can look forward to a Autumn's beautiful color display, cider pressing parties, apple sauce making, pumpkin pie and... cold and flu season.
Of course, like most mothers, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for helping fight off sickness over these wetter and colder months, which includes, not going anywhere or seeing anyone for three months. Kidding, of course.
It's inevitable. Even if your friends with mostly families who try to leave the kiddos at home when they have the sniffles, or quarantine them when they have the stomach flu, unless you live in a cave, you are bound to come into contact with something at some point.
Our family repertoire includes extra servings of cod liver oil, as much fresh air as possible, very little sugar, and homemade elderberry syrup. I keep a bottle of this in the door of my fridge. I take a sip of it every day, and more if I feel like I am fighting something off. And I make Athena and Brian take it, too. Athena thinks it's some special sort of "'bucha"
There are many different recipes for elderberry syrup, this is just how I make it. I like adding the homemade elderberry extract because it helps it last longer. Make sure you store it in the fridge. It will keep for months.
Homemade Elderberry SyrupYield: 2 quarts
- 2 cups elderberries (harvest your own or buy them here)
- 3 quarts water
- 2 Tbs ground ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 4 star anise
- 1 tsp cloves
- 2 cups raw honey (best to buy local. Second best? Buy here.)
- 1 cup elderberry extract (make your own or buy it here)
- Large pot
- 2 in. diameter stainer (where to buy)
- Candy thermometer (where to buy)
- glass bottles for storing (I use these flip top bottles)
Step-by-step picture instructions:
Combine all ingredients (except honey and extract) in a large pot. Bring to rolling boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for an hour. Cool to 110 degrees. Add honey, stirring constantly.
Add extract. Strain out the berries with a small strainer.
Be sure to press the berries to remove all the juice.
When syrup has cooled completely, add in elderberry extract.
Store in the refrigerator. Keeps for many months. Enjoy!
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