Note of caution - Raw elderberries are considered to be poisonous and should always be cooked before consumption.
Not all foods are suitable for all people - please check with your healthcare provider before introducing new foods if you suffer with any health conditions or allergies, or if take any medication (over the counter or prescription).
Elderberries have been consumed by our ancestors dating back as far as 400BC. Hippocrates who famously stated 'Let food be thy medicine' was a big fan of the elder tree and it's fruits. Elderberries are a great source of polyphenolic compounds, which are known to better support the gut microbiome.
Elderberries have traditionally been made into jams, sauces, syrups and cordials, as well as being a firm favourite in fruit pies.
My favourite way of enjoying elderberries is pouring a tablespoon of elderberry syrup onto live plain yoghurt for breakfast, topped with a few toasted almonds and a sprinkle of cacao or cinnamon powder....yum.
There are many recipes for using elderberries. We are going to focus on syrup, as it's so versatile, but feel free to find your own recipes for jams, etc.
Ensure you only consumer the syrups in small amounts (5-10ml) - just a little drizzle in a tea, dressing, on top of cereal or in a mocktail for example. As with all syrups and cordials this is a concentrate and so should be used in small amounts or diluted before use.
50g dried elderberries
2cups of water
2 tablespoons of honey or 30g sugar
Juice from one lemon
small piece of ginger and/or stick of cinnamon, 1 piece star anise and 3-4 cloves (for a festive version).
Add dried berries and water to a covered pan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 30minutes.
If you want a festive themed syrup add in the ginger and other spices, leave out if you would prefer to enjoy the elderberry flavour on its own
Mash the elderberries with a potato masher or just squash the berries with a wooden spoon until the elderberries form a pulp.
Pour through a fine mesh sieve or a piece or a piece of muslin/cheese cloth.
Pour the juice back into the saucepan and add the lemon juice, honey/sugar
Bring back to the boil and simmer until the liquid begins to reduce down and thicken slightly.
Pour into a syrup bottle and leave to cool.
Keep in the fridge and consume within 2 weeks
Alternatively you can use the elderberries to make jam which will keep for several months to a year, as per your own homemade jam recipes.