a perfect day to cheer on the marathoners,
Julen and I walked four miles along the creek in search of this precious berry. I was afraid that the seaon had already passed us by when finally I came across a bush heavy with the fruit. Greedily I snipped all that were hidden from the birds and smiled all the way home. I was on my way to making some elderberry syrup.
Last month at the preschool we started having parent gatherings. A way of establishing community and letting parents share and get to know one another. Our first get-together was hosted by one of our moms who is a massage therapist and herbalist. She taught me of the health benefits of elderberries last year, but I was happy to hear her lead a discussion and teach us how to make our own elderberry syrup at home.
There is tons of information about the health benefits of elderberries on the internet. (Here is one link to get you started.) All I really need to know is it's proven effective in boosting the immune system (who doesn't need extra defense against influenza and H1N1?) and also, my boys love it so much they ask for a spoonful every day.
After washing and pulling them off the stems, I found I had gathered three cups. Making the syrup was not as intimidating as I had imagined. Fill a big pot with the berries, water, ground clove, cinnamon sticks and fresh ground ginger. Let it simmer (one to two hours). Once it is slightly cooled, strain (I used a super-fine colander but cheese cloth should also work). While still warm, add honey. Store in the refrigerator. It made enough to fill a two-quart jar plus a little more.