Elderberry syrup is easy to make, free to forage and provides a boost to the immune system to ward of winter flu. There’s still just enough time to collect an autumn harvest.

2 cups berries
¼ cup water
 ½ cup honey
add spices to taste: 2tbs ginger, cinnamon stick, 5 cloves

Elderberry syrup

The elder tree is a native summer beauty with a long rich history of sharing its beneficial blooms and berries. The flower’s full blooms mark the beginning of summer and by the end of the season a harvest of berries are ripe and ready to collect.

Elderflower blossom collected in early summer can be sweetened and boiled for elderflower cordial, or if you have the patience, wait for the fruits to make a centuries old flu syrup to boost your immune system for winter.

Harvest the berries when they are all deep purple and hanging heavily from the branch.
Old English and Danish lore will tell you to be sure to ask the elder and give thanks for any harvests to keep on the good side of the Elder Mother. O Elder Mother, if I may, I must take a bite of your forest.

Cook or freeze the berries within 12 hours, dipping and rinsing first. The easiest way to remove the berries from the stems is to freeze them in a bag and bang them free when frozen. Boil the ingredients together, allow to cool and strain the juice, before bottling and storing. Elderberry syrup is rich in antioxidants and makes a perfect flu remedy for winter. Add winter spices and honey to your own taste for an extra-tasty natural medicine.

Early summer elderflowers in bloom make tasty cordial.

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