It’s that time of year when all the Elder trees are heavy with clusters of little black berries. So here’s my Elderberry Syrup Recipe for those who’ve been asking.
💜Packed full of vitamin c and immunity boosting antioxidants it’s a good traditional remedy to stock up on now if you’ve got elder trees in your vicinity (and it also tastes great in Prosecco I discovered last night 😉)
💜The recipe is simple but preparing the berries is quite time consuming and fiddly (I recommend a good podcast or two!) as you need to get rid of every bit of stalk and stem (they’re toxic!). And you can freeze them if you don’t have time to make the syrup straight away.
💜Elderberry juice stains everything! So be careful where it goes!
💜My top tip if you don’t have muslin/jelly cloth is to buy a 40p reusable veg bag from Sainsbury’s. They’re honestly the most effective thing I’ve found for straining preserves!
💜I added star anise to mine (because I’m a sucker for those aniseed-tasting cough syrups!) but you can leave it out or use cinnamon sticks or cloves instead. The lemon is also optional but brings out the flavour and helps preserve it.
💜And if you’re happy to keep it in the fridge you can reduce the sugar a bit - but I wanted mine to be shelf-stable for a few months so I used properly sterilised jars and plenty of sugar as a preservative. If you don’t sterilise your containers you need to keep it in the fridge and use within 3 weeks (or freeze)
💜The recipe can be scaled up or down to suit however much you manage to forage.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe:
🥄Wash and de-stem your berries, pick out any that aren’t dark purple-black and weigh the prepared berries.
🥄Put the berries in a saucepan along with their equal weight of water. Add a couple of star anise, cloves or cinnamon sticks for optional flavour. Simmer v gently without boiling for 25-30 mins.
🥄Strain through a clean muslin into a jug, leaving to drip for an hour, or if you’re impatient like me, squeezing the bag well and dying your hands purple 🤦🏻♀️
🥄Weigh the berry juice and add 2/3 of that weight of sugar or mild-flavoured honey, and the juice of a lemon (approx 1 lemon per 250ml juice)
🥄Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and then simmer gently for 10 mins to thicken up.
🥄 Strain the syrup again through a clean muslin into a sterilised jug, and then pour hot syrup immediately into sterilised jars or bottles and seal at once.