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Elderberry Syrup Recipe


A cluster of elderberries.

A cluster of elderberries.

Photo © Lauren Ware

Elderberry syrup is delicious and super healthy. This recipe is for a medicinal syrup that can be used to fight flu and viruses. Elderberries are said to increase immunity, and they are a rich source of bioflavonoids, antioxidants and potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C.

For this recipe, you'll need a source of elderberries, or Sambucus nigrans. If you don't have fresh elderberries, you can purchase dried berries from places that sell herbs, either online or locally. But ask around because many folks have bushes of elderberries growing in their yard that they don't use!

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 36 ounces of syrup


    • 3-4 lb elderberries, destemmed, to yield 3 cups prepared elderberry juice
    • 1 cup honey or more to taste, preferably raw, local, and organic for the medicinal benefits


  1. Gather needed supplies:
    • Potato masher
    • 5-6 quart saucepot
    • Sieve and cheesecloth, jelly bag, or muslin bag for straining elderberry juice
  2. Pick only blue or black, ripe elderberries. As soon as possible after picking, rinse elderberry clusters thoroughly. Use a fork or your fingers to gently remove them from the stems. Once stems are removed, rinse again and drain well. Discard any unripe, wrinkled, or moldy berries.

  3. Place berries in a large stockpot and crush with a potato masher to release juice. Turn heat to medium and stir occasionally as juice begins to flow. Once the mixture reaches a boil, turn heat to simmer. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

  4. Pour the mixture into a jelly bag, muslin bag, or cheesecloth-lined sieve, over a large bowl. Allow juice to drip into bowl for several hours, until the dripping stops. Press or squeeze very gently to release additional juice.

  5. Measure 3 cups of juice into a 6- or 8-quart saucepot. Add up to 1/2 cup water if necessary to make the proper amount of juice. Bring to a simmer and stir in the 1 1/2 cups of honey. You can add more honey to taste.

  6. Remove from heat. Pour syrup into clean glass jars and store in refrigerator. This elderberry syrup will keep in the fridge through one winter.

To use the elderberry syrup, give one to two teaspoons at the first sign of a cold, sore throat, flu or other viral illness. The dose can be repeated every two to three hours. Please note that honey should not be given to children under two years old.

Elderberry is a very old, well-known cold and flu remedy in Europe. It contains bioflavonoids and antioxidants as well as potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C.

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