It is time for elderberry syrup again. I cannot praise this lovely berry and the syrup made from it enough. I just love it.
I watch with anticipation as the lovely elderflower, which I love more each year, turn into tiny green berries, I then keep an eye on them each week as they slowly plump up and turn first red and then brown and finally a dark dark blue or black. It is hard to describe the excitement I feel, perhaps it has to do with my love for autumn (because I know when these berries start to ripen fall is around the corner, although there is certainly no sign of autumn here yet), or the joy it gives me to gather something by hand and make it into something delicious which will then help my children weather the changing seasons with a stronger immune system, or perhaps I simply feel this way each and every time mother nature brings me what I need for the season ahead, I know I feel the same excitement in spring when I gather my first batch of nettles,
whatever it is I love it!!
Each year when these lovely berries start to ripen we journey out to gather them for syrup.
We all gather together
We started on one bush/tree and filled this small basket, then found another tree full of ripe berries and had to get a bag from the car to gather in.
Once at home we set to work separating the berries from the stems.
The children usually help for a while, and I finish up. This is indeed a labour of love, it takes a long time to separate each berry from the stem, yet I enjoy it fully, a meditative task and my quiet time..
And once finished I had a bowl full of berries, some berries on top in this photo look a little red, these will be separated out when I wash them. You must only use the dark blue/black berries!
Kaleena really enjoys the washing, it feels so wonderful to move the hands around in the water and berries. The berries that are not yet ripe enough will float to the top, if they are in the top layer of the bowl, and are then easy to skim off.
After washing I put the berries ( dried berries can also be used) in a pot and cover with water, I add about half an inch over the berries, and simmer them for about an hour. Then I mush them much like you would when making jam
strain out the pulp, and squeeze all remaining juice out
pour in a jar
add raw honey to taste, quite a bit as the syrup can otherwise be a bit bitter
and label, which is always a good idea,
when you have all kinds of home cooked concoctions in the fridge:)
These will keep at least 3 months in the fridge. (which reminds me I need to add a date to my label)
I give this as a supplement by the spoonful to the children and myself in these weeks leading up to the change in season, I give it also as an immune booster. The berries are powerful antioxidants, full of vitamins A, B and C, as well as amino acids. For more info look here. I like to keep the syrup on hand all winter, and give it at the first sign of a cold or flu. When I have an abundant supply like now, and it is hot, like now, I also use it as juice, and serve it over ice in a mixture of half water half syrup.
~May you have an abundant supply of these little black pearls~