Elderberry Syrup

This isn't for pancakes.

It's for health and wellness!

I thought it was time to introduce a few recipes and ideas you can use in your own home and family, just like we do, to get and stay healthy.

The Sassy Family gets sick, yes indeed.  We get colds, coughs, tummy bugs, flu every few years, the usual viral junk that most people have to deal with.

It's pretty rare that we have to visit a doctor for any of it, though.  Most of the time, I can treat my crew at home with herbs, supplements, water, chicken soup, rest, and love.

If we need medical care, we get it.  A year ago, all 8 of us got a horrid food-borne illness and we needed help, big time.  I ended up in the ER to get IV fluids.  That was not fun.  No one else got as sick as me, and we figure since I'm a high-mileage model, my body was more easily depleted and I needed extra help.  We all recovered, thankfully.

We choose not to get a flu shot.  I've done the research, and it works better for us to live a healthy life of good food, exercise, sunshine, water, and a happy home.  Everyone has to learn what they can about those decisions and do what's best for their families.

Oh, did I mention I'm not a doctor?  Nor a health professional in any way.  Whatever I tell you here is not intended to do anything but suggest and inform.  You're on your own.

Let's talk herbal medicine, and specifically Elderberry Syrup.  I make this every fall and keep it in a quart jar in my refrigerator.  If we are coming down with a bug, or have been exposed to some crud, we all take a daily dose.  If there's a virus in the house, we might have a spoonful a few times a day.

I buy my herbs in bulk from a wonderful, family-owned and operated business called "Savvy Teas and Herbs."  (http://www.savvyteasandherbs.com/)  Nickole and her husband Brian and their kids all work together, selling the most pure, natural, delicious, and beneficial herbs and teas.  Their prices are GREAT, the service is excellent, and you can feel good knowing you're supporting a small business.

Elderberry:  Anti-oxidant, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory.  Major immune booster!

Echinacea:  Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, blood purifier, immune boosting goodness. 

Rosehips:  High in vitamin C, anti-inflammatory, and just plain tasty.

Nettles:  Great for allergies and nasal inflammation.

Raw Honey:  Sweet taste, good bacteria, anti-oxidant, great for digestion.

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar:  Beneficial for sore throats, stomach viruses, pH balance, much more.

Those are the simple ingredients. 

A word about cost.  You can buy a bottle of elderberry syrup at a health food store or on line, but 4 ounces will run between $8 and $12.  I can make a quart for around $8.  A quart is 32 ounces.  Do the math.

The most labor-intensive part of the process is straining the liquid.  And it takes all of about 5 minutes.  The rest of it is just soaking and simmering.

Here's the recipe, and the steps.  Make some.  Give your family and yourself a spoonful each day during cold and flu season.  Kids love the taste!

Elderberry Syrup

2 cups dried elderberries
4 cups boiling water

Pour the water over the berries and let sit for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

1/4 cup dried rosehips
1/4 cup dried nettles
1/4 cup dried echinacea

Pour the elderberries and water into a large pot.  Add the dried herbs.  Add an extra two cups of water.  Simmer over low heat for an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

Cool the mixture.  Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender.  Pour in batches through a mesh strainer, pressing with a spoon to extract all the liquid.  Dump the sludge into your compost, but NOT down the drain.  It'll clog.  Ask my husband.

1 cup raw honey
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar OR fresh squeezed organic lemon juice

Stir the honey and vinegar into the elderberry mixture.  Store in a quart jar in the refrigerator. 

(This is what the herby mixture looks like when it's simmering, just for reference)