3 cups filtered water
3/4 to 1 cup dried elderberries
1/3 to 1 cup honey
Cinnamon stick (or ground cinnamon)
Fresh ginger (or ground ginger)
Tea towel, cheesecloth
Yield: 2-3 cups
(1) Add berries and spices to water, heat until boiling.
(2) Reduce heat to keep from a constant boil (high temperatures will destroy some of the nutrients) and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes.
(3) Remove from heat and let cool. Straining the berries will be messy. You can use a thin tea (or flour sack) towel, but it will never be white again. We prefer to use cheesecloth. Place berries in cheesecloth and squeeze. Yes, your hands will be purple for a bit, but it washes off. If you don't have a tea towel or cheesecloth, I have had moderate success with a mesh metal strainer.
(4) Add honey after you have strained the berries from the juice. We typically only use 1/3 c or less of honey. I've been told that the honey lengthens the shelf life, but our family of 4 never has a problem going through a batch this size.
Yield: I said 2 cups, but have found the final amount to be dependent on how long you simmer/ cook the berries. Boiling drastically reduces the yield. I've experimented with keeping a lid on it without boiling, which seems to work great. I've also been known to reuse the berries a second time after straining them. The color isn't quite as dark as the first batch, but I mix it with the first batch and this normally gets me to 3 cups after I add the honey.
We have found that elderberry juice tastes delicious (but very strong) when paired with pomegranate juice. This replaces the need for spices and honey.
Our fresh and frozen berries are perfect for juicing. Just thaw the frozen berries prior to juicing. We wrap the berries in cheesecloth and give them a good squeeze.
The University of Missouri did a study on Elderberries that showed that Sambucus canadensis, American Elderberry, does not contain a significant concentration of cyanogenic glycosides (a derivative of cyanide that causes upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea). European elderberry, Sambucus nigra was found to contain high amounts of the cyanogenic glycosides making it necessary for imported berries to be cooked prior to consumption.
Caution should still be used if you ingest our elderberries raw as some people are more sensitive to this toxin. To remove any toxins present, slowly heat the freshly squeezed juice before consuming.
As with most natural remedies, dosage is not set in stone. In medicine, concentration is very important when establishing the dosage and in elderberry products, there is great variation of concentration. In general, it is recommended that adults take 1 TBSP every 2 hours while experiencing cold/flu like symptoms. For children, the dosage is 1 tsp every 2 hours. The frequency is important as studies have shown that elderberry leaves your body within 2 hours of entering it.
To learn more about how elderberries aid your body in fighting of viruses, visit our page about health benefits.
Children and Elderberries
It can be tough to get your kid to drink their elderberry without making their entire face purple, as well as their clothing, the floor, and your hands. A couple things that have made our toddlers ask for more elderberry:
1. leave out the spices (cinnamon, cloves, etc,) simple elderberry with honey tastes delicious
2. use a syringe to add it to an applesauce pouch (works great if you already put the spices in)
3. add it to their milk, baby food, juice, or yogurt (especially useful for littles ones who are too young to consume honey).
*we recommend giving children cooked berries only as their tiny tummies tend to be more sensitive.