Q & A: Elderberry Syrup

Q: Will putting elderberries in my tea do the same thing as elderberry syrup?

A: Unfortunately not. The steeping time for teas is not long enough to pull out the beneficial properties in the berries. More importantly, the berries need to be cooked for at least 30 minutes to deactivate the cyanide component they carry. Removing the long cooking time may result in an upset stomach.

Q: What is the best way to use elderberries in drinks?

A: Elderberry syrup has a wide range of uses. It can be dosed and added to your favorite cuppa tea, put into smoothies, or added to a 1/2 cup of maple syrup to make Elderberry Syrup. The uses are endless! 

Q: Can I give elderberry syrup to my newborn?

A: If you are nursing your child, you can take the syrup for him/her and then nurse. The child will receive the benefits through your breast milk.  If you are not nursing, due to the honey in the syrups, it is not advisable to give it a child under the age of 2.  

Q: Can I do anything with the left over berries?

A: Yes! The berries can be remade into a delicious compote! To do so, wipe the original pot out and return the berries to the stove. Add 2-3Tbsp of orange juice, or water and about a 1/4 cup honey or sugar to the berries and stir. Reduce the compote down until it thickens and all the sweetener is absorbed. Store in an air tight container in your fridge. Feel free to play with the recipe until you like it!

Q: Can I can my syrup?

A: Yes, it is possible to can Elderberry Syrup. I have been told that it is recommended to add a little bit of acid, such as lemon juice, to the syrup if you do a water bath.

I normally freeze any extras I have on hand in ice cube trays. The standard tray can hold approximately 15ml of fluids, which is 1 adult dose. You can also freeze it in several small or medium containers and defrost them when you need it. My daughters like the ice crystals it forms as it defrosts.

Q: How long does the syrup last?

A: Homemade Elderberry syrup lasts up to 6 months. If you see any mysterious floaties, a white milky film, or mold, discard immediately.

Q: Do I have to use honey?

A: No, you can substitute with brown rice syrup or maple syrup.  Although using honey not only adds healing benefits, but is used as a preservative in the syrup.

Q: How do I give the right dose if I don’t have a dosing cup?

A: Do what your grandmother did, use the silverware! Our ancestors used spoons to measure their ingredients. The smaller breakfast spoon is approximately 5ml.  While this isn’t precise, it can be used in a pinch. Remember half a small spoon will be approximately 2.5 ml.


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