Today is a cozy day. My daughter and I have been sitting inside all snug and warm, while the cold rain falls steadily outside. It’s just a good day to spend inside, doing school work, baking cinnamon rolls and bread. That is one of the things we love so much about fall and winter.
The only bad thing about that is cold and flu season will be right around the corner soon,and you see flu shots for sale on almost every corner, ok, maybe I exaggerated just a bit there! However, if you would like to try a natural alternative, all the more reason to whip up a batch of Elderberry Syrup!
If your not familiar with the black elderberry, you are missing out on a little powerhouse of nutrition.They have iron, potassium, phosphorous, and copper as well as vitamins A, B, and C, proteins, and dietary fiber. They can be anti-inflammatory and act as an antioxidant too. Studies have found that the elderberry eases flu symptoms like fever, headache, sore throat, fatigue, cough and body aches. The benefits seem to be the highest when started within 24 to 48 hours after symptoms begin. One particular study showed that elderberry reduced the duration of flu by more that 50%. Another good practice is to take 1 Tbsp of Elderberry Syrup per day at the start of cold and flu season, it works to protect you from getting sick. If you do get sick, the dosage is 1 Tbsp every 3 – 4 hours.
This syrup is easy to make, all you need for one pint of syrup are: 1/2 cup dried elderberries, I get mine here at http://www.bulkherbstore.com/
3 cups water
2 Tbsp dried or fresh ginger root
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp cloves or clove powder
1 cup of raw local honey
Place your ingredients, all except the honey, into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat once it boils, and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half. I usually cover the pan, and it takes about 45 minutes . Now you can strain it through a wire mesh strainer into a jar and let it cool down.
Once it has cooled down, now you add your honey and mix well. That’s all there is too it! You can find a pretty bottle, sterilize it with boiling water, and you have a lovely container to store your syrup. You should keep it in the refrigerator, and I like to add a Tbsp of blackberry brandy for extra preservation. This is optional. It should last you for two or three months.
As with any cooking and preserving project, it’s important to have very clean containers, and utensils, preferably sterilized with boiling water. This ensures proper preservation of your product.
This is just one more way you can help protect your family, and save money to boot!
Enjoy, until next time on The Prairie Apothecary Blog!