Wonderful, yummy elderberries, makes my mouth water just thinking about how good they taste, plain right off the bush, in pies, muffins, drinks, liquor!! This time of the year I not only daydream about them, I also dream about them in my sleep. This year even more so than other years, our elderberries where not as plentiful as usual. We have been visiting lots of old farmsteads around our area trying to get the berries before the birds. We have visited fields, stream banks that we haven’t seem in years, it’s been a fond walk down memory lane, remembering what the farms use to look like, the people that lived there. All the old orchards that are no longer in use, but still giving the best that they can. Parts of us are very sad about what we have” lost”, but the wildlife is not at all upset about our lost, it is their gain. Deer, birds, coyote, skunks, ground hogs, ect they are thrilled, we are so happy that we live in an area that still has such wildness to it. I trust every year there is something here on the farm that doesn’t do as well as we would like, so we get out on the hill tops and valleys and look and truly see what we usually drive by with out taking a proper look at.
This is a great Elderberry Syrup recipe from Nancy and Michel Philips of Heartsong Farm, and it is from their book the Community Herbalist.
Heartsong Farm Elderberry Syrup
This delicious and healthful syrup can be used for cold and flu symptoms. Try filling a wine glass half way with the syrup, add hot water, and lift a toast to your health when flu bogs you down. The color alone is enough to perk you up!
Simmer 1 gallon of fully ripened elderberries with 1/2 cup water in a large soup pot until soft. Strain the pulp out, compost it and save the juice. Add 1/2 oz grated ginger and a heaping teaspoon of whole cloves to the liquid (optional) and simmer of 45 minutes uncovered. Cook uncovered and reduce down to half. Add 1 cup dried elder flowers to the hot juice, put the lid on and infuse for 20 minutes. Strain out the herbs and add one part raw honey to one part juice. Bottle and cap when cooled.
This “low sugar syrup” must be kept refrigerated and used within eight to ten weeks. Whole berries can be frozen to make more syrup during the winter months when this antiviral brew becomes essential medicine.
To this mixture this year I am also adding Sea Buckthorn juice. This is the first year our trees have matured enough to give us good berries, what an excellent mixture to add for taste, and health benefits. For those of you that know Agnes Adler, an herbalist from New York, by way of Hungry, she can’t say enough good things about Sea Buckthorn, so in her honor we planted about 10 trees and are playing with the berries. ....Andrea and Matthias Reisen