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Elderberry Syrup Recipe

It’s the time of year when the flu, cold, and general seasonal crud is going around. Time to whip out a simple and tasty elderberry syrup recipe.

What are elderberries?

Elderberries are a shrubby plant that has been used for centuries for its medicinal purposes. There was even evidence of its use during the Stone Age (around 3,300 B.C.E) in Switzerland and Italy (Source 2).

In some places there is the belief that Elder holds spirits, leaving the plants unharmed for fear of disturbing them.

It grows all over the world and there are varieties native to North America a well as Europe.

Elderberry grows berries in large clumps and usually has red stems. It also puts on clumps of soft white flowers in the spring.

What part of the elderberry plant can you use?

Both the flower and the berries are used for making wine, jellies, jam, pies, lozenges, vitamin gummies, tonics, teas, and syrups like this one.

The flowers have a lightly sweet floral flavor, almost like sucking the nectar from a columbine flower. These can be tossed in salads, baked into breads, etc. The blossoms are also sometimes used in skin care recipes for its astringent (skin tightening) properties.

The wood from elderberries has also been used to make musical instruments, skewers, and needles.

Why is elderberry beneficial?

Elderberry is full of vitamin C, Vitamin A, betacarotene, iron, and potassium just to name a few.

Vitamin C is highly immune boosting and also aids in strengthening our bones and helping us to absorb iron. Source. Vitamin A and betacarotene are also immune system boosters.

Elderberry is also yields some of the most antioxidants of any plant. The only other fruit that is thought to contain more is aronia berry. If you are interested in making Aronia syrup check out this blog post.

easy elderberry syrup recipe rough and tumble farmhouse

Avoid Raw Elderberries

Raw elderberries have small levels of lectin and cyanide which can cause diahrea, nausea, and general upset stomach. When the berries are cooked this neutralizes these chemicals making the berries safe to consume.

Using Dry or Fresh Elderberries

Both fresh and dried berries work well for making syrup. Most people will not have easy access to fresh elderberries so the recipe I share uses dried.

If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh elderberries, combine two quarts of berries with 1/4 cup water and simmer until the berries are soft. Strain the berries and reserve the liquid.

See the recipe below for instructions using dried berries.

Tools for making Elderberry Syrup

You will only need a few items to make elderberry syrup.

  • Medium Sized Sauce Pot
  • Large Spoon for Stirring
  • Colander
  • Cheesecloth

If you have fresh elderberries, a great way to extract the juice is to use a steam juicer.

Ingredients for Elderberry Syrup

  • 1 quart dried Elderberries
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/4 Ounce grated Ginger Root
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cloves
  • Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • See additional ingredient options below.

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Add one quart of dried elderberries to a medium sized sauce pot. Pour in two quarts of water. Cook low and slow with a lid not sealed so steam can escape. Cook until the water is reduced to half, then strain the berries and return the liquid to the pot.

Add the ginger and cloves, then simmer again until the liquid reduces to about half.

simmering elderberries rough and tumble farmhouse

Next, measure out the syrup into a heat safe measuring cup. Note the amount of juice. Let’s say it’s 8 ounces.

Return the juice to the pot, then stir in half the amount of honey. So in this example it would be 4 ounces.

Stir in two tablespoons of lemon juice.

Store in a mason jar or whatever else you like. This keeps in the fridge for up to three months.

This recipe will yield about

Additional Ingredient Options for an Elderberry Syrup

Feel free to experiment with your syrup by adding in other healthy herbs. A fellow farmer/homesteader friend, Jeri, makes her syrup with nettle and rosehips added to the recipe. You could also add peppermint leaf, elderflower, dandelion leaf, etc. Herbs should be added in the last twenty minutes or so of your cook time and strained out before bottling or jarring.

Other berry additions might be be dried Blueberry, Hawthorn Berry, Aronia Berry, etc.

honey elderberry syrup rough and tumble farmhouse

How often to take Elderberry Syrup

Some folks take a tablespoon or two every day to help keep up their immune system. If you are in the midst of a cold you can take 1-2 tablespoons a few times a day.

Please note this recipe contains honey and should not be given to children under one year old.

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elderberry syrup rough and tumble farmhouse


  1. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar
  2. Magic and Medicine of Plants by Christopher, Hoffman, et. al

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