Thursday, August 19, 2010

Elderberry Syrup

Just before we went away last week I realized that if I didn't pick the elderberries I would be out of luck
 as they were drying up quickly in the heat.
I made time to pick them that day and then set about getting them off the stems.  This is a time consuming job - something I would normally rush through or try to find the fastest way to accomplish - but I found it very calming and peaceful this time.  I sat outside in the morning sun with my bowls full of berries and enjoyed the sound of the berries pattering into the bowl - a much needed slow down.
Once I had my largest bowl full of berries I decided to make syrup with them since I still have some elixir left from last year.  (If you want to see a gorgeous photo tutorial of one method of making elderberry syrup have a look here.)
I washed and measured them.  Put them in a large pot with some water and cooked them.
Then collected their juice with this strainer.  I heated the juice with some honey and then sealed it in canning jars. 
Now I have 10 jars tucked away in the coldroom to help maintain our good health in the winter months.  (That little red tool in the photo is one of my favourite canning tools - I used to burn my fingers a lot trying to fish lids out of hot water before I got that handy magnetic tool.)
And then I thought a sample of the syrup was in order so I poured some into my glass and added some club soda and ice.  Very refreshing.
PS - ever wondered how big a zucchini can get in the 5 days you go on a holiday?  This big!!  I picked all the plants clean before I left and came home to another box full.
And ever wondered how many cukes and zukes you can get in those 5 days? This many!! 
I picked all the plants clean before I left and came home to another box full of each.  Happily I was able to unload lots on my drive home from the garden (so the photo only shows what I ended up bringing home) - some at the library, some to a co-worker, some with friends...and some on someone's doorstep.  Boy, will they be surprised when they get home.   One year I will manage to reconcile my love of growing food with my love of going on trips in the summertime and figure out a way to not end up with such surpluses of produce. get caught up on the rest of the produce.


affectioknit said...

Those are some pretty impressive squash and I love the Elderberry syrup...

Elizabeth said...

Your elderberries are ready? Ours aren't usually ready until September but the season has been fast so far so I'd better check! In addition to syrup and jelly this year I want to try wine. Have you ever tried that?

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I always wondered if elderberries lose their anti-viral effect when you boil the syrup? I noticed your elixir is not cooked. Do you think the syrup has the same effect?

moment to Moment said...

Looks so delicious, and thank you much for the link:)
What you cal Elixir really is much the same as tincture correct?
:) Christina

Dawn said...

Lovely, we're just about to make some elderberry goodies here - they are ripe a bit early this year, I have even seen Sloes ripe now so off to our usual picking sites to check them out this weekend.


Kelly said...

Wonderful process. Our elderberries are just ripening on the farm we live on. We are keeping a close eye on them.

Wendy said...

This looks wonderful! I would love to get my hands on some and make some syrup too.

Heather said...

Hi Elizabeth - yes these elderberries are ripe, I think they are called Black Elderberries. The other elderberries that grow around here (Blue Elderberries) are usually ripe in another couple weeks. I'm looking forward to making juice out of that kind.

Hi Jane - I don't know about the heat of the boiling water bath canning causing them to lose some of their effect. I suppose I could have frozen the syrup instead of canning or I could have frozen the berries and only made a batch at a time of syrup and kept it in the fridge. But I think because I think that it will work well for boosting immunity then it likely will. Power of positive thinking and all that. ;-)

Heather said...

Hi Christina - yes, the elderberry elixir is made in the same way as tincture. I like to call it elixir because it is delicious tasting compared to my other tinctures which are usually bitter (like Burdock or Oregon grape root). Elixir just sounds more enticing, doesn't it? It even smells divine.