In the late summer and early fall when elderberries are in season, it's the perfect time to make some homemade elderberry syrup! This syrup is not only delicious, but has powerful medicinal benefits as well.
If you are using fresh elderberries, discard as many stems and unripe berries as possible.
Put six cups of fresh black or blue elderberries (or three cups dried) into a large pot with six cups of water.
Bring it to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer the elderberries uncovered for about one hour, or until reduced by nearly half. If you feel like it is reducing a bit too fast, you can partially cover the pot while it is simmering.
Remove the pot from the heat and set aside to cool to warm room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Strain out the elderberries using a fine mesh sieve, pressing the berries to get any extra liquid out. You can line the sieve or a colander with cheesecloth if you prefer, this also helps to squeeze out all of the liquid from the berries. Discard the berries. You should end up with at least one quart of elderberry and water mixture.
Add the raw honey while the elderberry and water mixture is still semi-warm and stir until it dissolves.
Ladle or carefully pour the elderberry syrup into quart jars, placing the lid and ring to finger tip tight. Let it cool completely and refrigerate for up to 6 months.
It's important to leave the pot uncovered (or partially uncovered) while the elderberries are simmering, as allowing the steam to escape will help to remove any potential toxins that are present. It also helps the mixture to reduce.
I don't recommend heating the elderberry syrup after the honey has been added, as that would destroy the beneficial compounds in the raw honey.
Elderberry syrup can be frozen for later use in freezer safe containers.
I recommend adults take 1-2 tablespoons of elderberry syrup 2-3 times per day at the onset of a cold or flu, and throughout the duration of the illness.
For small children (ages 1-5), 1-2 teaspoons twice per day is good. That amount can be increased as the child grows.
Elderberry syrup should not be given to children under the age of one due to the raw honey.