Elderberry juice is the fastest, easiest and most pure processing method for maximum immune health benefit. Before I bought a steam juicer, this is how I made elderberry juice: Place an amount of frozen berries on a baking sheet to scan for unwanted visitors, and to remove any remaining thicker primary stems. Place cleaned berries in a stainless steel pot with no other ingredients. Bring to a gentle simmer for five or ten minutes, or just until the berries look 'tired.' (Most recipes suggest strong boiling to remove toxicity of seeds, but my experience is that a gentle simmer is enough, and overcooking loses all the goodness!
Once cooled, mash the berries with a potato masher and pour through a sieve, cheese cloth, or cone strainer. I typically use a sieve and the flat bottom of a jar to squeeze the juice out. My first pressing is the pure juice. After the first press, the mash starts to become dry, so I add a bit of water for a second, even third pressing. Pour strained juice into ice-cube trays. Freeze and transfer to zip lock bags for fresh immunity-building juice all winter long.
Elderberry Juice 102: Steam juicing -- the European Way For centuries, Europeans have foraged for elderberry each fall and used a steam juicer to process the fruit into juice for the winter. I finally decided to try it in the fall of 2016. After much research and one product return, I settled on the Norpro Steam Juicer from amazon ($100), and I've never looked back. The old mother country still has a lot to teach us here in the wild frontier! So simple and efficient. The best part is the berries are steamed, not boiled, and the juice filling your sterilized wine bottles or Mason jars is hot enough to seal without additional water baths, making the berries minimally processed and optimally healthful. The steam juicer is divided into three compartments, or vessels. To start, I fill the bottom compartment with water. When it is simmering hot I place 5 lbs. of berries in the top compartment. Within about twenty minutes, the juice comes out of the hose in the middle compartment, and runs into my sterilized bottles or jars.
After several seasons of experimenting with recipes for syrups, juice and tonics and more, this is what I've learned:
Steam juicing is the easiest and most optimal way to reap the health benefits of elderberry
Elderberry Shrub is a must-have tonic spanning the spectrum from medicine to cocktails (see below)
Incorporating frozen berries into pies, baked goods, salads, and more adds color, texture, health and excitement to familiar recipes
Shrub is an ancient term for a vinegar tonic that dates back to pre-colonial times. Fruit shrubs were taken on board cargo ships as a way to keep fruit preserved for long voyages, while reaping the healthful benefits of fruit plus apple cider vinegar. It is often preserved with lemon, vinegar or alcohol, so it can cause one to perspire, which is cooling in the summertime. Shrubs are made with fruit, apple cider vinegar and honey. They are a wonderful remedy for congestion and sore throat, and make an excellent tonic for the body. Almost any fruit can be used. Adding spirits, such as rum, brandy, or vodka to takes the drink to whole new level. I What I like about the elderberry shrub is its versatility. It is medicine when taken straight, and pleasure when mixed with sparkling water, Pellegrino or prosecco, a dash of lime juice, bitters, vodka or rum. As a refreshing summer drink an elderberry shrub tonic can't be beat -- a great way to take your medicine!
• 2 cups elderberries • 1 quart apple cider vinegar • 1 quart honey, or sweeten to preferred taste Optional: spices, such as star anise or ginger, cloves, cinnamon
1. Wash and pick over the berries. Put berries in a nonreactive pan. Pour vinegar over berries, cover and bring to a low simmer. Remove from heat and let stand overnight or up to 2 weeks.
2. Mash fruit vinegar and strain through cheesecloth or muslin. Add honey and blend well. Bottle in dark glass sterilized jars with non-metal lids. Label contents in bottle; keep out of reach of children.
3. Store in a cool, dark place. Use within 1 year.
Elderberry Oxymel If you appreciate the flavor and health benefits of honey and apple cider vinegar, consider both shrub tonics and oxymels, another vinegar sipping drink. See Mountain Rose Herbs http://mountainroseblog.com/herbal-oxymels-methods/ for an oxymel recipe for – "from the Latin oxymeli meaning 'acid and honey' has been made and used in many ways throughout the ages and it’s a recipe that can be adapted to suit your health and herbal needs." -- Mountain Rose Herbs
Liz Wiley's Elderberry Syrup 2 Quarts of fresh or frozen elderberries 1/4 oz. freshly grated organic ginger, or 2 Tbsp. dried 1/2 tsp. organic cloves 1 tsp. organic cinnamon Raw organic honey to taste
Harvesting the elderberries is the most time consuming part of making the syrup. You can harvest the berries by hand of with a fork. Recently, I saw a YouTube video and the person used a designated hair pick for the job that seemed to work really well. You want to do your best getting the berries off the stems, without getting too crazy about every little stem; you will be straining this mix in the end. -- Collect the berries in a pan and give them a rinse. -- Add water to your elderberries. For fresh or frozen berries use 1 : 1 cup ratio; for dried berries, use 2 : 1 ratio. -- Add ginger, cloves and cinnamon to the pot. -- Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 45 minutes, allow cooling. Before straining the mix, I mash the berries to get the most out of them with a potato masher or wooden mallet. -- Strain the liquid through a sieve and compost the berries. -- Add raw local honey for maximum health benefits. Stir until well mixed and pour into sterile jars or bottles. -- Store in refrigerator.
Mountain Rose Herb's Elderberry Syrup Makes about 1 1/2 cups syrup There are hundreds of elderberry syrup recipes available on the internet and in older cookbooks, but we are fond of the simplicity of the recipe by MountainRose Herbs, which makes 1 c of syrup. See https://www.youtube.com/watch v=XOYzWyFGkqM for a YouTube demonstration and links to other syrup recipes.
Ingredients 4 oz. c dried elderberries, or 8 oz. rinsed fresh/frozen ** Option: substitute a portion for dried, fresh/frozen aronia 2 c water 1 cinnamon stick 5 cloves 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger root 1 cup honey (raw, unfiltered if available)*** Option: add 1 Tsp. brandy or vodka to preserve syrup longer
Briefly bring the berries, water and spices to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 20-30 min. (Use a SimmerMat for low-heat cooking under the pot if you have one. The less the berries are cooked at high heat the more the medicinal properties are retained). Strain the decocted berries mixture through a sieve, tamp down with a spoon to get all the juice. Cool juice to 110 F or less and add honey. Heat mixture just enough to incorporate honey into juice without overheating the honey. Store 12 weeks or more in a clean covered jar in the refrigerator. Option: add brandy or vodka to increase preservation of syrup.
**De-stemmed, clean elderberries normally include small fragments of stems.
***Not only does the honey add flavor, it is also the preserving agent in the syrup. For home use, the amount of honey added can be reduced if you plan to use it right up within a couple of weeks. See also www.wellnessmama.com/1888/elderberry-syrup/
Elderberry Pie 375-400 F for 15 min; reduce oven to 325-350 for one hour or until done.
Ingredients 1 qt. rinsed fresh/frozen elderberries 1 c sugar 1 Tbsp. (heaping) flour Pinch of salt Butter Cinnamon 1 Tbsp. vinegar
To quart of berries, add sugar mixed with flour and salt. Add generous piece of butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, then add vinegar. Bake for 15 min. at 375 - 400 F. Reduce oven to 325-350 F and bake for one hour or until done. --http://www.cooks.com/recipe/70jl0th/elderberry-pie.html If the tiny crunchy elderberry seeds are not to your taste but you still want to enjoy the health benefits of this super-berry, consider using them as an accent in baked goods that call for other berries or fruit. For example, consider adding a handful of tiny elderberries for color and health to peach, pear or blueberry pie; apple, or rhubarb crisp.
Ada Mae's Elderberry Cake Makes one 8 x 8 cake; 350 F, 15-20 min.
Ingredients 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil 1 egg 1/2 c milk 1 c flour 1/2 c sugar 3 Tsp. baking powder 1/2 Tsp. salt
For topping 2 Tbsp. sugar 1 Tsp. cinnamon 1 Tsp. cloves 1/2 c fresh/frozen elderberries
Mix dry and wet in separate bowls. Add wet mixture to dry. Pour into greased and floured pan. Sprinkle topping mixture over cake. Bake and enjoy.
Culinary Overview "Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food" --Hippocrates Food into medicine, medicine into food. Use your imagination when it comes to elderberry and personalize the ways in which you incorporate these powerful berries into your diet. If you store frozen or dried elderberries as one of your household (medicinal and culinary) staples, all you need to know is that they can be:
Cooked down and strained to make juice, syrup, shrubs, elixirs, tinctures, teas and infused oils (flowers and/or berries). The more bitter-tasting aronia is best used medicinally only (syrups, elixirs, tinctures), and in some drinks such as hard cider, beer, wine and kombucha.
Added to cocktails as a main or supplemental ingredient, as in the form of shrub tonics, oxymels
Used to make jams, jellies, sweet and savory sauces
Cordials (elder flower blossoms), wine, beer, hard ciders and kombucha
Added to almost anything you are baking, such as fritters, pancakes, cookies, bars, cakes and pies
Once you become familiar with the culinary personality of elderberry, you'll follow your instincts to find as many ways as you can to add this power food to your diet.
"I had swine flu and tried everything, but nothing worked until a neighbor brought me some elderberry syrup, which wiped it out completely." -- M. Gannaway
In ancient times, the gypsies called the elder tree"the healing-est tree on earth."