How to get your daily dose of elderberries + Syrup recipe!

 
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Every year when cold and flu season come around, we run to our elderberries. These "magic berries" are a constant in our house. Not only do we take elderberries for cold and flu, we take them daily as an immune support to keep us from getting sick to begin with. Our family has take elderberry as a support in one form or another since 2014. We tend to get sick much less than the average family and when we do we have less severe symptoms and they go away much faster. Elderberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants that can enhance your immune system and have been shown in studies to reduce length of the flu and lesson the severity of symptoms. Yeah, we love our elderberries. 

You can take as a supplement, cook with it, add berries to baked goods, or add to water or teas., just get it in! The most common way to take elderberry is in a concentrate or a syrup as a supplement or natural medicine.

There are some great local options for Kansas City made juices and concentrates or you can make it right in your own home. 

 

My Elderberry Concentrate/Syrup Recipe

I love making my own elderberry products because I know exactly what is going into them, compared to buy a pre-made syrup at the store. Aside from the fact that it's crazy expensive and you can make it at home for a fraction of the cost, store bought elderberry syrups can contain some less than desirable ingredients that you wouldn't use at home (sugars and preservatives). Aaand I am always for the most cost effective way to do things.

 
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Ingredients:
4 cups water
3/4 cup dried or fresh organic elderberries
2 tbsp dried or fresh organic ginger root
1 tsp organic cinnamon
1 quarter of a fresh lemon
big pinch of organic cloves

Directions:
Add ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min.
When done let it cool down a bit, then strain through cheesecloth into a glass jar.
Add 2 tbsp raw, local honey and mix.
This will keep in the fridge for a month (if it lasts that long!).

Add ins:
-Add one diced clove of garlic for extra immune support. I will say that this version is not as pleasant to take and the kids don't like it as much, but it works wonders for colds.
-Add 1 Tbsp of lavender (or 1 tsp of valerian root) to make a comforting nighttime syrup.

Dosage:
To keep our immune systems supported when we are healthy my husband, 10 year old son, and I take 1 tsp daily . My toddler gets a 1/2 tsp in a cup of water a day.
During periods of sickness we take more often, up to 3 tsp a day.

 

Where to get your elderberries

I've found dried elderberries locally at Natural Grocers in Overland Park and Olathe, but it's a little hit or miss. 

If you are lucky enough to have naturally growing elderberry close to you, you can definitely harvest them on your own. Make sure that you are allowed to harvest from them (not trying to steal our neighbor's elderberries here) and that they aren't close to a road where they would have contamination from exhaust. 

Then, there is always good old amazon (prime for the win). I buy organic dried elderberries in bulk on amazon, because it is just too easy to have them show up at my door in 48 hours when I am unable to find them in Kansas City.

 

 

don't want the hassle of making your own? buy in kansas city locally.

Wildewood Cellars is a local vineyard in Peck, KS. They make an amazing elderberry concentrate that is non-GMO, pesticide free, and is only concentrated elderberry juice, not an elderberry extract or dried elderberry product. You can pick up a bottle of this on amazon, at Natural Grocers, or in the health food section of most Hyvees.

Mindfully Made is a Kansas City staple in the naturally minded community. They use locally sourced ingredients (including local honey from Happy Valley Farms out of Desoto). You can literally find these all over the city!

 

However you end up doing it (making your own, buying pre-made locally in Kansas City), just get your elderberries in. Your future self will thank you, I promise.