Remember that quote from Monty Python The Holy Grail? …. “And your father smelt of elderberries.” Well, I know exactly what that means now. In fact, all of the occupants of this house now smell like elderberries! ‘Tis good stuff though. Read on.
Elderberries contain oligomeric procyanidins that act to enhance circulation and reduce allergies and inflammation. They also contain antiviral proteins that inhibit viral replication and stimulate immune enhancing cytokines.
In the old “Making Plant Medicine” tradition Richo Cech set out to determine the best process for producing a superior Black Elderberry syrup from the dried berries.
*I included my own photos of the process.
Elderberry Syrup, Richo Cech of Horizon Herbs
1) Use 1 cup of dried Elderberries (weighs appx 100 gram, or 3.5 oz.)
2) add 2 cups boiling water. Cover with plate and let sit overnight. Volume now shows over 2 cups.
3) In the morning, pour the softened berries into a blender and blend them vigorously. They will vortex and mush up.
4) Pour the berry mixture into a fine sieve and press it through into a ceramic bowl, or put in a pressing bag and press out in a tincture press and collect the juice. (Compost the seeds.)
5) Volume of juice is 2 cups. Simmer the juice on the back of the stove at low heat. Stir occasionally. Keep reducing juice until it reaches half volume (1 cup). It’ll take an hour or two. The juice is now very concentrated, thickly loaded with pectin and bioactive compounds. By the way, reduction time when using reconstituted dried berries (as in this recipe) is much faster than when reducing down the pressed juice of the fresh berries, which pretty much takes all day.
6) Measure the reduced juice. It should be 1 cup. Licking pan is acceptable. At this stage, the juice should be very thick!
7) Add glycerin or honey to bring volume back up to 2 cups. (Should require about 1 cup of glycerin or honey.)
9) Filter through 4 layers cheesecloth
10) Squeeze out cheesecloth by hand into the ceramic bowl, or press out the syrup with a tincture press.
11) Pour filtered juice back into clean pyrex. Should measure a little less than 2 cups. Have some!
12) Pour into an amber bottle, properly labeled, for dispensing and storage.
Endnotes) Very nice syrup, properly preserved and very clean, having been filtered of impurities. Honey preserved syrup probably best kept in fridge. The glycerin preparation is suitable for bottling and dispensing pretty much like a tincture, and may be stored at room temperature. Should be good for a year, if it lasts that long. Dosage of the syrup is 1 tablespoon each dose, taken 2 or 3 times daily. If exposed to cold germs, consciously avoid touching nose.
*My notes: My juice measured 1-1/2 cups so I had to adjust accordingly. I also used local raw honey.