The beautiful black glossy berries of the Elder (Sambucus Nigra) pack a powerful punch when it comes to seeing off seasonal colds and flu. Whether taken as a preventative or at the very first signs of a cold it is very effective and as a bonus very tasty !
Here is a recipe for a cordial which I have made for many years and would never be without.
- 1kg Fresh Elderberries or you can use freeze dried
- 500ml of water
- 400g sugar
- Optional: Thumb nail size piece of fresh ginger, 2 Star Anise, 2 Allspice berries, 1 Cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, sprig of thyme, couple of strips of lemon peel. Add all, some or none according to taste.
Remove the berries from the stalks with a fork, discarding any unripe ones and place in a saucepan, pour on the water so the berries are covered. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently for 30 minutes until the berries release their juice. Give them a light crush with the back of a spoon to get out all the goodness.
Leave to cool slightly then pour the mixture either into a strainer or cotton muslin cloth and drain into a bowl or large measuring jug.
For every litre of juice add 400g of sugar (you could use less & sweeten with honey at the time of consuming if preferred)
Back into the saucepan and this is the time to add your chosen spices. Bring back to the boil and very gently simmer for 30 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the flavour of the spices have been drawn into the juice.
After 30 mins you can either remove the spices with a slotted spoon or leave them in longer until the juice has cooled.
I usually pour the juice into icecube trays and freeze then just take out one or two when needed, the silicon trays are ideal for this as they are so easy to use. That way you have a good supply of it to hand for many months. You can also put it into glass containers or fill small bottles, remembering to leave a gap at the top for expansion if you decide to freeze them.
Take 2 teaspoons a day or 1 small ice cube as a preventative or 3 teaspoons at the very first signs of a cold. It can be taken neat, diluted with hot water, lemon & honey as a toddy or drank with a little brandy. Some people pour the juice into a kilner jar then top up with a small amount of vodka or brandy to preserve the juice for longer.
So worth the effort of picking and making and I am sure once you discover the benefits you will never want to be without it.