One of the supplements we give our children on a regular basis is Elderberry. It is fabulous for immune support. The stuff is pretty spendy and I wondered if I could make my own. We were initially paying about $13 for a 1oz bottle, and then started buying the 4oz bottle for a little over $40 when I realized that our store carried it. It would last us a little over a month, but it was worth it.
After going through a couple of the 1oz-ers and one of the 4oz bottles, it was time to jump in and try to make it myself. I checked at our local health food store (LifeSource) and they did not carry Elderberries in their bulk department, but were happy to order them for me. About a week later I had my 16 oz bag from Mountain Rose Herbs waiting for me at customer service. With most regularly priced bulk special orders they give you 20% off. My bag came to $16.80. After doing some research I decided that I could not find just the right type of recipe so I just looked at some of the ratios they used and then made up my own guess.
Here is the recipe I have used twice now with great success:
1/2 cup of dried Elderberries
2 cups of water
1 generous tablespoon of local raw honey
Odds and Ends Needed:
1 pot and lid
Cheese cloth or metal strainer with very small holes
Spoon for string
Something to mash with
A bottle or container for your finished product
Measure and pour 2 cups of warm water into a saucepan and then add 1/2 cup of the dried elderberries. Let simmer gently with a lid on for about 25-35 minutes and stir occasionally. After it is finished cooking use some sort of tool for mashing it up a bit to get the juice from the berries (I used our potato masher that has lots of surface area on the part that mashes). After it has cooled a bit strain through some cheese cloth (works best), or a very fine strainer. If you use cheese cloth be sure to put a glove on before squeezing out the last of the the juice. Last time I made it I went to an ICAN (c-section support group) meeting at Bella Vie with one very purple hand.
After you strain it out and have it in a bowl stir in a tablespoon of honey (I used local raw) while it is still warm enough to mix in. This will help sweeten it a bit and is also supposed to act as a natural preservative.
The first time I made the recipe I cooked it a bit longer without a lid and ended up with about 7+ ounces. The second time I made it I got 11.5 ounces. I am guessing my 16oz bag will be enough to make at least 5-6 batches. Although the potency may not be quite as strong (I have no idea how to actually know), the value is incredible over the store bought Elderberry Syrup/Extract. We have been just as healthy, if not healthier that when we were using the Elderberry from the store.
Condensed directions-Simmer water and berries for 30ish minutes, mash up a bit, strain, add honey while elderberry is still warm, bottle and refrigerate. So simple!
*I give the children about 3/4ths of a tablespoon everyday by spoon or in their supplement mixture and they have no problem taking it.
*If you have a little one too young to have honey yet you can just leave it out. It might be a bit tart, but would still taste good. You could also mix it into something else if you are having trouble getting them to take it from a spoon or syringe.
Hope this is helpful to other families! Anything that saves money and contributes to good health is a “win” in my book.