Warming Winter Elderberry Syrup

There's as many ways to make elderberry syrup (and any botanical syrup) as there are herbalists to make it, and in as many variations as there are inspirations that each herbalist has in the moment they're making it.

When I make elderberry syrup for our little household, I pretty much make it different every time. Sometimes I add rose hips, citrus peel, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, dried apple or other fruit, or something else, or some combination of botanicals. The one constant ingredient, other than - in this case - elderberries, is love. Always love.

Yet, as many botanical variations there may be, the process is simple. Simple in that it is an infused simple syrup. Simple syrup is a basic kitchen skill, and one that I've always thought that everyone had. I've come to understand - reluctantly, I confess - that basic kitchen skills have faded in the disempowering mists of corporate food indoctrination. And if you know me at all, I will fight to counter this, and I will do my best to bring back that which is being forgotten. And that includes making a simple syrup, from which medicinal syrups may be made manifest.

Anyone can do this. And I'm delighted to see more and more folks making it for themselves for the very first time, and my prayer is that their initiatory experience delights them so much that their curiosity and sense of play and experimentation lead to more (and more) Medicine making, and a renaissance in basic survival skills, AKA: kitchen skills. ::nods::

So I share with a basic recipe that I share in my wellness studio, in the hopes that it inspires at least one more curiosity seeker to make this delicious and immune-stimulating 'n' supporting syrup for themselves. And then be inspired from there. Here goes:

Warming Winter Elderberry Syrup

2 ounces dried elderberries
1 T. dried ginger
1 T. cinnamon chips or granules
4 cups water
Organic cane sugar

Place the botanicals in a lidded pot and cover with 4 cups of cool water. Place over moderate heat to bring to a gentle boil. Turn down the flame to a gentle simmer, covered, for about an hour or two. Strain and compost the plant matter. Measure your fluid and return it to the pot. For every cup of fluid add a cup of sugar, bring to the boil, stirring, to ensure the sugar is dissolved without scorching. Turn off the heat, cover and let cool before bottling and labeling. This syrup will keep in cold storage (AKA: the refrigerator) for months.

At the first tingle, tickle, sign of symptom, take a delicious and generous spoonful every couple of hours. You can take it as is, or sweeten a glass of water, or cup of tea, or in any way that inspires you in the moment. 

Like many botanical syrups that I make, you might want to use it as an everyday Wellness Food, as you would any syrup ~ on pancakes, over (or under) desserts, to sweeten water, yogurt, smoothies, teas and other beverages. I sometimes “spike” mine with a fitting cough-relief tincture to take when symptoms make manifest. Whatever you do, enJOY and be well by Nature!

“Let Food be the Medicine, and Medicine be thy Food.” ~words attributed to Hippocrates, the father of modern western medicine. 

One of the things I love about making elderberry syrup from the dried berries throughout autumn and winter is the seasonal magic that this amazing plant conjures within me. I recall the greening of the plant and sprouting of its leaves - and suckers - in spring. I recall the formation and evolution of green bud to creamy-white blossom, and eventually the dark, midnight blue berries. I recall the modest majesty of this royal plant, and the beauty and blessings it offers to our little acre and all life that visits there. It conjures warm, sunny days in the dead of winter. That's magic. That's Medicine.
Now go. Make some magic. Make some Medicine. Make some syrup. And be well by Nature. ::nods::