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Elderberry & Cold Season

We’ve been running around like little squirrels, filling our crates with apples, pumpkins, and elderberries!

Elderberries are native and they have thrived this season. I’ve been watching the huge blooms fill into plump berries and recently we went on an elderberry scavenge and were handsomely rewarded!

Along with this bounty comes other Fall goodies, I'm talking about cold season. Since I’ve had kids I always make a big batch of elderberry syrup in the Fall that can be administered to my team at the slightest cough or tickle. I love having it around, it is tasty and everyone loves to take it.

Below is my tried and true elderberry syrup recipe. I typically make it with dried berries , but this year I got to use fresh local ones! The seeds from the native variety can cause tummy troubles (so I'm told) so be sure to strain them out. This syrup can be made with brandy (for adult consumers) or Apple Cider Vinegar for my smaller folk. The vinegar can be quite strong so feel free to cut it back. I love the addition of Thyme, it is strongly antimicrobial and helpful with coughs!

Elderberry Syrup


1 cup fresh elderberries or 1/2 cup dried

2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

1/2 cup fresh thyme or 1/4 cup dried, divided

1-quart water

1 cup raw honey

1/2 cup brandy or apple cider vinegar

Optional: 1 tablespoon dried echinacea root (Echinacea Angustifolia), 1 tsp. Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. Ground cloves


  • Combine elderberries, ginger, echinacea, half of the thyme, and the water in a saucepan.

  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the volume of water has reduced by about half, 20 or 30 minutes. The volume doesn’t have to be exact, so don’t fret too much about exact measurement. Remove the pan from heat and add the rest of the thyme. Cover and let the thyme steep for 15 minutes.

  • When the thyme has steeped, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Press firmly to release the rest of the juices.

  • Pour the liquid into a quart jar. You should have about a pint of liquid at this stage. If you are short, add a bit of warm water to make the measure about a pint.

  • Add the honey while the liquid is still hot. Stir well to dissolve the honey.

  • When the honey is dissolved, add the brandy or apple cider vinegar.

  • Store in the jar or funnel into a bottle.

  • The syrup should be stored in the refrigerator, where it will keep for up to 6 months if made with brandy, or 4 months if made with apple cider vinegar. Aside from being beneficial to the immune and respiratory systems, this healing syrup is also delicious. As such, it can be taken by the spoonful, or incorporated into the diet. Try combining it with sparkling water for a soothing and earthy medicinal beverage. Take a tablespoon of liquid whenever you feel a cold coming on; about a tablespoon, two or three times a day is right for adults. Children over the age of 1 can also use this syrup if it is made using vinegar. Children ages 2-5 can take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon; children ages 5-10 can take 1 to 2 teaspoons

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