Flu season is here! Elderberries have long been used as a natural remedy for cold and flu symptoms. When taken within 48 hours of symptoms (1 teaspoon daily, 1/2 t for children over age 1), it’s been shown to reduce the duration of symptoms by up to 4 days. I like to sweeten it with honey, which is rich in antioxidants and doubles as a cough suppressant. Just made my second batch of the season for the family as we’ve been exposed to so much at work.
* 1/2 cup dried elderberries (if you can’t find them locally, you can order them on Amazon
* 2 cups water
* 1 tablespoon fresh ginger , minced (optional)
* 1/2 cup honey
1. Combine the elderberries, water, and ginger in a small saucepan over high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer until the water has been reduced by half, about 45 minutes.
2. Transfer the cooked berries and liquid to a clean bowl and pour it through a fine mesh strainer to remove the berry skins. Use the back of a spoon to press on the berries in the strainer, to extract all of the juice, then discard the small amount of pulp leftover.
3. Allow the elderberry juice to cool to room temperature, so that the heat doesn’t harm the nutrients in the honey, then stir in the honey. Use a whisk to incorporate it smoothly, then transfer the syrup into a sealed glass jar that you can store in the fridge.
4. This syrup should keep well for at least two weeks when stored in the fridge, so if you don’t think you’ll use it all before then, feel free to freeze it until you’re ready to use more!
Other great flu fighting foods you may want to incorporate in your winter/post holiday diet include garlic, green tea, oranges, berries, ginger, tomatoes, and wild salmon.