Elderberry Syrup, which may or may not cure that change-of-seasons cough

I owe you all a handful of recipes that I planned over the summer, but then before I finished tweaking them, busy season at work happened, and now here we are at the change of the seasons and I’m thinking more about immune boosters than about the strawberry shortcake recipe* I haven’t typed up yet. At the moment, my stove has elderberry syrup and apple butter simmering on it, and carved apple heads are dehydrating in the over in preparation for Halloween. Autumn.

I won’t go into whether or not elderberry syrup actually makes colds and coughs stay away, or get better faster. There’s a fair amount of vitamin C and other good stuff in it, so it might. Or it might just make me feel better. I’m a strong believer in home remedies that are comforting, whether or not they’re provable cures. Bonus: elderberry syrup tastes good.

Elderberry Syrup

  • 3 cups water
  • 2/3 cup dried elderberries**
  • 1 – 2 cinnamon sticks, broken
  • ~1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 – 2 inch piece fresh ginger, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup raw, local honey

Place all ingredients except honey in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from heat, mash the berries slightly, and let stand and cool until lukewarm. Strain. Stir in honey. Store in pourable jar in refrigerator.

Dose : ~1tsp per day for kids, ~1Tbsp per day for adults as a preventative. Same amounts every few hours when colds or flu strike. Take by the spoonful or drink in sparkling water or warm water, or mix it in yogurt, or basically whatever you like***. You’ll get more of the possible magic of the raw honey if you don’t add it to anything boiling, however, so let tea cool a bit if you’re adding the syrup to that.


*It’s a really good recipe. I’ll post it someday for reals.

**I get mine in bulk at a local natural foods store. They’re also generally available online.

***White wine and brandy both work well for a more adult cureall.