Some people think of the fall as cold and flu season, but I have news for you. As winter continues on, we’re still in it. In fact, many of us may be best suited for Vitamin D supplements and a Vitamin C IV! This is the time to pull out the big guns: the super immune boosters like the bone broths, the medicinal mushrooms, the fermented foods, super hydration, and the botanical medicines, like this wildly simple and delicious elderberry syrup.
I buy my elderberries by the bagful in the summer, then make a batch of this syrup and freeze the remaining berries to make more of this recipe in January.
Despite the fame of the “taste awful but it works” cough syrup, medicine can actually taste awesome and this is a prime example.
Elderberry and elderberry syrup Has An Awesomeness Factor of 10/10
Elderberries are rich in antioxidants and have been used for a long time (like thousands of years) to treat colds and flus. They’re a mighty, mighty source of Vitamin C and should for sure be part of any immune-boosting protocol.
Where To Buy Elderberries
- Fresh at the farmers market when in season.
- Beg your friends who bought them fresh at the farmer’s market for some.
- Check your local health food store for dried berries.
- Order online from your fave online herbal apothecary…or, um, Amazon because they actually do sell everything.
Do Not Eat Them Raw: Elderberries need to be cooked to render them safe and to receive the amazing health benefits. Several varieties of elderberry are poisonous when eaten raw. Always cook this elderberry syrup recipe!
Before I get into today’s recipe, check out this video Josh and I did making a tincture with elderberries.
How to Make Elderberry Syrup
To make my syrup, I add additional herbs to offer a more balanced healing remedy. The ginger aids in circulation and will help quell any nausea that comes with a cold or flu. Cinnamon lends the awesome taste, calms the belly and the nerves, and helps offset the blood sugar-altering effects of a sweet syrup.
Raw honey is the only way to go, in my opinion, for the sweetener as it’s mighty high in anti-microbial and anti-bacterial factors. To keep those properties intact, I add them after the liquid has been reduced and the decoction has been removed from the stove.
The process is simple: add all the ingredients except the honey to your pot with water and simmer for about an hour until liquid is reduced.
I recommend taking one tablespoon of elderberry syrup every day as a preventive and every two to three hours if you feel a cold coming on.
As I mentioned, this is a great preventive when combined with:
- Power soups
- Medicinal mushroom teas
- Fermented foods
- Vitamin D
- A gratitude practice
Simple Spiced Elderberry Syrup
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
A simple home remedy to boost immune health and treat the common cold or flu
- 1 cup fresh or 3/4 cup dried elderberries
- 3 cups water
- 2 Tbsp fresh sliced ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon or 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 cup raw honey
- Place elderberries, water, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.
- Remove from heat and using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, strain out mixture. Transfer liquid to a jar and stir in 1 cup of honey.
- Keep in the fridge sealed for 2-3 weeks.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 60 mins
- Category: Herbal Medicine
55 responses to “Simple Spiced Elderberry Syrup”
Awesome recipe and thanks for sharing! I just made my second batch yesterday with the same ingredients. So much tastier than store bought, and seriously cheaper too! Plus you know the quality of ingredients.
Can you expand on elderberries. I have an elderberry bush that freely started growing in my flower bed (how kind of it!!). It has the most fragrant flowers in the summer. Can I cook these, using this recipe or are these poisonous?
You also mentioned D supplements and I wonder if you could do a video on supplements. I don’t really think scared is the word but I stopped taking supplements because of the fillers in them and the fact that they are not regulated so I almost think they do more harm then good. Please advise.
Elder flowers are very yummy and healthy. I make pancakes our of whole bunches of the flowers. You just make your favorite plain pancake butter (a bit on the runny side), dip a whole elder flower bunch into the batter, and immediately place on a hot, prepared frying pan. When the pancake is almost ready to flip, take your kitchen shears and snip off the stems sticking out of the batter. Flip and fry until golden on the bottom bottom. This is really delicious, try it. You can also make a syrup out of the flowers by layering snipped off blossoms with cane sugar and keeping in a glass jar until syrup forms and then straining out the blossoms. You can also make a tincture out of the blossoms. The possibilities go on and on. Enjoy the health benefits and amazing taste of this flower as well as the berries.
Do you know if this can be frozen and still keep nutrionals value?
Yes, I think freezing would be totally fine.
What dosage would you use with kids? I have a store bought version of elderberry syrup and they recommend 1/4 tsp 3-4 times a day. Would that be about right for a 2 year old?
I would recommend contacting the company and asking them directly.
I accidentally put the honey in before I boiled it. Did I ruin it??
If you used raw honey, the nutritional properties of the honey are likely gone. But you’ll still get the benefits of all of the other ingredients!
Would using less honey change the chemistry of the effectiveness?
Thanks for sharing your knowledge!!
***Haven’t searched yet but wondering if you’ve shared a good recipe(s) for chaga tea/tincture and/or infusion?
Raw honey has more nutritional value than pasteurized, but if you’re concerned about sugar content you can certainly adjust the amount. I did a Facebook Live recently where I made elixirs, and the base was a chaga tea. You can see that here: https://www.facebook.com/meghantelpner/videos/10155326050675662/.
Hi. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I just have question about fermentation. Will this syrup ferment if kept in room temperature or it must be kept in refrigerator?
Yes, keep this in the refrigerator. The ingredients and process would be different if you wanted to make a fermented elderberry syrup.
mine boiled kinda dry i had 30 min left i added some water took off stove is is till safe to consume ? I know silly question but still . ty
I’m not sure if your syrup ended up burnt or not? It’s hard to say without being able to see/smell what happened, so you’ll have to trust your senses. For me, if there’s any doubt, I throw it out.
I have been making elderberry syrup for years and have always tossed the elderberries after straining them. Is there a use for the elderberry “sludge”?
Once you’ve simmered herbal concoctions, most of the constituents are in the liquid/syrup. You could use ‘the sludge’, but there wouldn’t be a ton of nutritional value left. Perhaps throw it into a smoothie – or maybe dehydrate it and grind to a powder to use as a natural food colouring.
I saw a recipe to make in instant pot. Would this effect the quality? Would it reduce like boiling?
I don’t own an Instant Pot, so I’m not sure if this recipe would work in one. Perhaps use a lower pressure if you can?
Can I use orgamic korintje cinnomon??
I’ve never used that kind of cinnamon before, but I’ll bet it would work!
We have an abundance of wild elderberries here in the Adirondacks and this is a great way to use some of them. Here is a tip I have learned over the years: cut the berry bunches off the bush with scissors and put them in a large paper bag. You can easily pick 10 lbs in 15 minutes this way. Put the bag in the freezer without trying to get the berries off the stems. When I need some berries, I just knock the bag around some and scoop them up from inside the bag or pour them out while holding the mass of stems back in the bag. And if you freeze them in plastic bags they will not harden together like most berries and you can easily scoop out a cup or two from a gallon bag, even after they have been frozen for months.
Great Recipe!Thanks for mentioning not to eat raw, have seen so many that fail to advise that and as a 9 year grower/seller I know how important it is to let new users know that.
I live in NC and would like to know if you sell elderberries. If so, how much. I am very interested in making this syrup
Hi Joanne! I don’t sell elderberries, but you can check out your local grocery store or health food store to see if they are available where you live. You can also find dried elderberries online.
Love love love elderberries. I make this for my kids and hubby but I prefer mine less sweet so I use less honey. Have you ever found using less honey affects the effectiveness of it? Just curious. (Thinking honey is mainly for the expectorant factor)
I wouldn’t say that I’ve noticed a huge difference using a little less honey. You can certainly adjust if you want it less sweet!
Can you use ground ginger? I ordered some thinking I was getting the ginger root.
Yes, you can use ground ginger. You’ll probably need to use less – try 1 tbsp to start.
What do you think about adding turmeric to your elderberry syrup.
You could certainly give that a try if you’d like!
Can I also make a cup of tea from the syrup?
It would get quite diluted if you mixed the syrup with hot water and it wouldn’t be a very flavourful tea. I prefer to take this on its own. However, it might work if you wanted to add a tablespoon to a cup of brewed tea.
How much do you recommend giving 2 and 4 year olds daily?
I recommend working with a health practitioner for the right dosages for children, as dosage depends on their size as well as their health needs. Children may need a quarter, third or half of the adult dose so it’s always best to check in with a practitioner.
Do you mash the berries after simmering and before draining?
You don’t need to mash anything, as they break down quite a bit.
I’m allergic to honey is there an alternative?
You could try maple syrup instead.
Hey, Meghan! The 3 weeks in the fridge. Is that how long it’s good, or does it need to sit a while before consumption? I know with some tinctures, it needs to sit to reach full potency.
Hi Morgan! The 2-3 weeks is how long the syrup will last. You can consume it right away.
My husband bought me Elderberry Liquid, how can I make syrup with the liquid.? I take it plain right now but don’t like the taste.
Hi Anne! If you don’t like the taste plain, try mixing it in some tea, a smoothie or take with a little bit of raw honey.
I have been following you for a year online. Love your platform, ideas and exuberance. My family loves this recipe, but I just found out about some intolerances including honey, clove and cinnamon. I figured if anyone could come up with a great alternative recipe its you and your gang. Maybe make this a class challenge! Please try, cuz I need help on this one!
Thanks Carrie! You could eliminate the spices in this recipe and try maple syrup instead.
Do the cloves and cinnamon need to be organic?
Hi Jen! I personally use organic spices, but whether you use them in this recipe is completely up to you.
I have been buying elderberry locally and have been told it keeps
In the refrigerator for 3 months. How can you make it to keep that
I think it really depends on how careful you are when using it – like using clean utensils whenever you dip into the jar. It’s possible that this recipe will last longer than 2-3 weeks in the fridge but I like to be conservative in my recommendations, and then you can trust your own judgment when using it.
I make this, then add about 1/4 cup of BlackBerry brandy. Keeps a lot longer in the fridge
We made your recipe in bulk, but ended up yielding more than 2 cups per recipe. Can you tell me what is the ratio of juice to honey supposed to be?
In this recipe, some of the 3 cups of water will boil off but you should get around 2 cups of elderberry juice.
I’ve noticed that some recipes call for keeping the lid on while simmering and others say to leave it off. Obviously a lot of the liquid will evaporate if the lid is off. Do you have a preference or any thoughts on which method is best?
Hi Erin! For this recipe in particular, we want the liquid to reduce so you can leave the lid off.
I have seen and heard about elderberry syrups lots of times but I have never tried it. But now I thinking to make it on my own and giving it a try. Thanks for the recipe! Will be trying it out soon! 🙂