Elderberry Cold and Flu Syrup

Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) are plentiful at the moment, so at the weekend we went foraging and came home with a bagful of berries to make this elderberry recipe I’d spotted in The Hedgerow Handbook by Adele Nozedar.  I’ve tweaked it (can’t help myself, always changing recipes) and this is my version:


Pick a carrier bag full of elderberries – snip off on a dry day then leave overnight to allow bugs (earwigs especially) to escape.

Strip off the berries, give them a wash then put in a big pan and just cover with water.


Bring to the boil and simmer for about half an hour until they are soft.

Strain off the liquid and put the pulp aside for the compost heap.

Return to the pan and add sugar to taste (this is going to be a syrup, so you need quite a lot, the proper recipe asks for 450g sugar to 600ml liquid, but I’m far more slapdash and just guessed and tasted as I went along).

Add the juice of a lemon and a thumb size piece of ginger.  The recipe also calls for cloves, but I can’t stand them, so not in mine.  Boil hard for ten minutes then fish out the ginger.

Let it cool and either pour into a sterilised jar or freeze in bags.  Depends on how much you make, my bagful made one kilner jar.


It tastes fantastic and there are plenty of options for using it:

  • A teaspoonful every day as a vitamin boost
  • Over porridge
  • Over blueberry pancakes
  • Added to hot water for a drink

It is reputed to keep colds and flu at bay, so I’ll test it out and see what happens!

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