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Elderberry Syrup – How to Prepare Elderberry Syrup

Michael Gonzales
September 13, 2023

Elderberry syrup can be easily prepared at home and kept refrigerated for months as an immune-boosting remedy, plus enhanced with various medicinal herbs for extra benefits.

Elderberries can be messy to work with, as their juice can stain your fingers, so wearing an apron and disposable gloves may help minimize any messiness or staining to your hands. Once harvested from their stems, combine them with water in a saucepan before boiling down further for use as a medicine.


Elderberry syrup or other remedies begin by harvesting its fruit. Elderberries grow in clusters (cymes) that must be picked by hand; therefore it is wise to bring along friends or family when harvesting elderberries by hand. Since elderberry plants can be very thorny, be sure to wear long sleeves and a hat while harvesting.

As with gardening in general, I make sure that I wear gloves to protect my hands from getting stained by juice from plants, but the most essential thing is wearing comfortable shoes and pants when walking through shrubbery – its branches could potentially poke you in the thighs! Be especially wary on trails in remote areas for ticks or rattlesnakes!

Assemble your bucket or container of choice and prepare to collect berries. I like using a five-gallon bucket lined with a kitchen trash bag so I can easily remove and replace full bags as they become full, continuing picking. A plastic market basket works just as effectively if one is available; otherwise use an easily tieable laundry or garbage bag instead.

Squish the berries to determine whether or not they are ripe; purple-hued ones will reveal purple juice while unripe ones may produce watery or pale hued juices. If in doubt, select several small clusters and squish one of the berries within to see what hued juice it produces.

Once your basket or bucket is full of elderberries, remove their stems using a fork. Generally speaking, this should help separate clumps nicely; if some remain attached however, that should not be an issue.

Step two is to wash the berries. Since they will be cooked in an oxymel, which includes vinegar as part of its recipe, they should be thoroughly washed to prevent spoilage during processing. After washing them I like to place them on an elevated surface like an old towel over a large cookie sheet or section of curved drain pipe so they can drain properly before placing back into storage for further use.


Elderberries don’t make for an appetizing raw snack, so cooking or preserving is necessary to bring out their sweet taste. Useful for making syrups, jams and jellies; especially effective against colds and flu symptoms – our collection of elderberry recipes will show you all sorts of delectable creations using this versatile plant!

Elderberry is one of the world’s oldest medicinal plants, having been used for centuries as a natural antiviral, immune system booster, and general health tonic. However, raw elderberries contain cyanide which may lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea; therefore it must always be cooked prior to being consumed or used in herbal remedies.

Elderberries should be harvested during late summer and autumn when they have fully ripened, in order to prepare them for medicinal use. You must first remove the berries from their stalks before washing them thoroughly; any green or red berries which have yet to ripen should also be discarded as these cannot be used as remedies.

For elderberry syrup, simmer the berries with water until the liquid has come to a boil, and reduce to simmer for at least 30 minutes before straining it and discarding any mashed-up berries and stems as well as any twigs or leaves that may have fallen in. Once cool, you can then customize your flavor with herbs or spices of your choosing.

Elderberry syrup often includes ginger, cloves and unpasteurized honey as its most commonly used ingredients, each providing various medicinal properties that may help ease aches and pains, soothe sore throats or boost immunity. Honey also adds delicious sweetness while providing antiviral, antifungal and powerful antioxidant support.

Once finished, the finished syrup can be stored in the fridge for three months and used as tea, drizzled on pancakes or waffles or drizzled over ice cream as an add-on treat. Some people take a tablespoon daily as a preventive measure against illness; others can take one teaspoon every two or three hours as necessary during times of colds or flus.


Elderberries can last for months when stored correctly, whether frozen, dried, or made into syrup. Airtight containers should always be the ideal way to preserve elderberries for maximum shelf life and longevity.

These containers will keep moisture at bay and ensure it doesn’t lead to mold or spoilage, while providing easy access for users. Jars, resealable bags and vacuum-sealed bags are excellent long-term storage containers; vacuum sealing them may even help protect dried elderberries from taking on too much moisture from their surroundings.

Before beginning to dry elderberries, it’s vitally important to sort them carefully prior to starting the drying process. This will ensure only premium quality elderberries end up in your final product – any that are overripe or show signs of mold should be eliminated from the mix. In addition, selecting an area with low humidity and enough ventilation can speed up and ensure even drying of all your elderberries.

Once dried, they can be stored in an airtight container to help extend freshness for up to one year.

To create elderberry syrup, simmer the berries with half of their original volume of water for around 20 minutes without boiling, using either a metal spoon or stainless steel potato masher to mash the berries and release their juices. When the liquid has cooled sufficiently, remove from heat and strain into an clean jar – it is essential to sterilize all processing utensils as elderberries contain alkaloids which could potentially be harmful if consumed directly.

If you plan on freezing elderberries, adding silica gel as a desiccant is highly recommended. Silica gel helps absorb excess moisture, increasing shelf life of frozen elderberries. You can find silica gel at most stores that sell canning supplies and it is very straightforward to use.


Elderberries can be preserved using syrup as one of the primary methods. Berry harvesting, boiling with water and adding any desired extras such as ginger cloves or spices to add flavoring is followed by straining to yield liquid used both culinary purposes (pouring over pancakes and waffles) as well as treating colds and flu symptoms.

Elderberry syrup is easy to make using either fresh or dry elderberries and will last approximately one month in the fridge. In addition, it can also be taken in tablespoon-sized doses as a medicinal drink to combat symptoms associated with flu and cold.

Elderberries can also be preserved by freezing. This method can be especially useful if you gather enough berries for a recipe but don’t have time to create syrup the same day. To freeze elderberries, line a cookie sheet pan with parchment paper and either lay whole clusters of berries with stems clipped close to their heads on it or remove them all together and spread in a single layer across it until solid frozen – once done place them into a freezer bag in your fridge and keep for several weeks up to one month before placing in another freezer bag and placing in your fridge!

Dried elderberries can make syrup preparation quicker by being already processed, so preparation becomes faster. To do this, combine dried elderberries with water and any extras you wish such as ginger or ground cloves for flavoring purposes. Simmer for 30 minutes with no cover until about half of their liquid has been reduced – during this process use a fork or potato masher to mash the berries so their juices release!

Once the juice has cooled, it can be combined with raw honey to sweeten and enhance its nutritional benefits. Once complete, this syrup may be stored for up to one month in the refrigerator and even longer if canned in a waterbath canner.


  • Michael Gonzales

    Michael has a diverse set of skills and passions, with a full-time career as an airline pilot and a dedicated focus on health and fitness consulting. He understands the importance of balancing a busy lifestyle with maintaining a healthy mind and body, and is committed to helping others achieve the same success. Michael's expertise in health and fitness is not just limited to physical training, but also extends to nutrition, stress management, and overall wellbeing. He takes a holistic approach to health and fitness, helping clients to achieve their goals in a sustainable and fulfilling way. With a strong desire to inspire and motivate others, Michael is always ready to share his time and knowledge with those who seek his guidance. Whether in the air or on the ground, Michael is dedicated to helping others live their best lives.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-gonzales-07bb4b31/ [email protected] Gonzales Michael


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