Elderberry syrup simmering and bottled

ElderBerry Syrup

ElderBerry Syrup

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The Good Stuff

Making elderberry syrup is fairly easy and fairly fast to do--it does take some time to do, but It's. Worth. It!

I will often times catch my boys taking a swig straight from the bottle, but to be fair I am just as guilty of same said swig 😆. I'm especially prone to swilling straight from the bottle when I feel a sore throat coming on or when I've been in known contact with someone who was recently or is currently ill. I've also taken a sip when I needed a sweet pick-me up and it was the closest at hand 😁. 

Elderberry syrup is delicious! And as long as you follow the directions (at least somewhat closely) you’ll enjoy it as well... my mom called me last week and said she didn’t like her elderberry syrup it was so bitter. So I asked her how much honey she put in it… a tablespoon or so was her reply. I laughed and suggested she re-look at her directions--it’s actually 1:1 juice to honey… there’s a reason they call it syrup, it’s thicker than juice and sweet 😅.

Fresh clean elderberries being poured into glass measuring cup



~ Elderberries
~ Water
~ Honey - local, raw is best

Optional Add-ins:

~ Herbs for flavor and/or medicinal purposes
~ Essential Oils

Elderberry Syrup—how to make it (why is it “elderberry” when the flower is “elder flower” 🤔🤔🤔). It’s GOOD… for you!

Elderberry Syrup is high in
* anti-oxidants, hence the deep color (help fight off free-radials which can cause cancer, arthritis, and heart issues)1
* vitamins A and C (think immune system boost and much more)2
* flavonoids (help protect against disease)2
* bioflavonoids (antioxidant that boosts vitamin C actions and helps fight inflammation)3
* beta-carotene (used by your body to make vitamin A)3
* iron (essential for red blood cells to form and maintain health, which carry oxygen)3
* potassium (a mineral helping with nerve signals in muscle contractions, especially heart contractions)1
* phytosterols (a plant version of cholesterol that when ingested help our bodies fight cholesterol)4

Anyhoo… onto the nuts and bolts of it 😅.

First things first… I did not write this recipe, it's my adaption from Rosemary Gladstar’s book Medicinal Herbs, a Beginner’s Guide.


Getting Elderberries

You can absolutely forage for un-sprayed elderberries in the woods or around your neck of the woods. Unfortunately, I have only been able to purchase organic dried elderberries online so far… at least in an amount large enough to make a batch of syrup (I picked some fresh, but only about 2 cups worth 😅, my trees are still babies). Plus, to be honest it is easier to use dried berries vs picking, washing, and sorting fresh—I only have so much time, folks ☺️.

I buy elderberries a pound at a time from Farmhouse Teas. They are certified organic elderberries that support small farms. They’re easy (just rip open the package) and delicious. Plus, if you’re in a hurry or don’t have your own home apothecary they have a mix all ready for you to throw in a pot with water 🥳. One pound just fits in a 1 quart mason jar, so you’ll want 2 quarts of water to 1 quart of berries—it’s a 2 to 1 ratio of water to berries whatever amount of berries you use.


They are similar except in the “cooking” ratios of water to berries.

* For fresh berries use ¼ cup water to 2 quarts of fresh (washed/ cleaned) elderberries.
* For dried berries you’ll use the beforementioned 2 quarts water to 1 quart/pound of berries.

Add water and berries to saucepan (that will fit your recipe, I highly recommend a stainless steel pan) along with any other herbs you’d like for flavor or medicinal properties. I like adding cinnamon chips or a stick, clove, elder or yarrow flowers, orange peel, ginger, vanilla, rosehips, and echinacea, but you can be creative with this part 😃.

Elderberry syrup recipe from a book and apothecary herbs nearby Elderberries and herbs in water in a saucepan

Cover the pan with a lid, but leave slightly ajar, so steam can escape. Cook on low heat until the liquid has reduced by half.

Strain out the solids using a fine mesh colander or cheesecloth—feel free to put some muscle into getting all the liquid out, it’s the good stuff. I suggest straining into a liquid measuring cup to simplify things.
Fair warning: If you’re using a cheesecloth be warned the juice will stain your hands purple for a couple days (not badly, but like dirt when you’ve been working in the garden).
Compost the solids or they may be edible for farmyard animals (I’m not positive on that, so don’t hold me to it, do your own research 😊).

Cooked elderberries straining through a cheesecloth Elderberries being strained and squeezed through cheesecloth last bit of elderberry and herb juice straining through fine mesh metal strainer into liquid measuring cup


Let the juice rest until it’s less than 98.6°F5 (at that temp and higher you lose all the good things in honey 😬). Once the elder juice is down to temp you need to measure how much there is (hence the suggestion of straining into a liquid measuring cup 😁) and add that much honey to the juice—a 1:1 ratio of juice to honey. Stir well to combine.

This is also a great time to add in any food grade essential oils—they MUST be ingestible, of course, I have a brand I trust and I know is safe. Essential oils to add start with the herbs mentioned above, in addition are frankincense, myrrh, vanilla, citruses, and copaiba to name a few. I vary my essential oil additions and add up to 30 drops per batch of syrup (remember, I make a batch based on 1 pound of dried elderberries, so if you're batch is smaller or larger take that into consideration when adding our essential oils).

Elderberry syrup mixings of juice in a glass measuring cup, honey, and doterra essential oils


Once your honey and (optional) essential oils are added and mixed in it’s time move it to a container to live in your fridge. I have these lovely flip top bottles (bought from my local natural food store) I use the one for elderberry syrup and excess goes into a quart mason jar to live in the back of my fridge until I need to refill my “pretty” bottle. Once my syrup is properly bottled, I let it sit and cool.

Bottled Elderberry Syrup


Oh! Don’t forget to label your containers!! Name (elderberry syrup 😁) and date would be the very least. Other bits to add might be where you got the elderberries, especially if you foraged them.

Once it’s cooled store in the refrigerator up to 12 weeks (but I’ve had mine in the fridge safely for over a year).


Now the fun 😋 part…

There are numerous ways to use elderberry syrup. My boys’ favorite is in a shot glass 😁 or straight from the bottle 😆. I’m not far behind them on those two options. Lol! I do love this as a breakfast syrup on pancakes, waffles, or other breakfast goodie. Other ways include this health-ful syrup is on ice cream or even on oatmeal. You can also make gummies the kiddos will love OR give your elderberry syrup an extra punch with this Aronia Berry Syrup with Elderberries. You can also make a tincture from elderberries. These are the ways I know, but if you come up with some other uses PLEASE let me know in the comments below. AND I’d love to hear how your elderberry syrup making went with my version!


Want a simplified, printable version of this recipe? Grab your downloadable Elderberry Recipe here.

Warmth & Love,
💜 Tracy


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PPS.  I am not a doctor. The contents of this blog are made available via Essentially Loved LLC through Essentially Loved Bits and Essentially Loved Quilts and are for informational purposes only. This blog is not medical advice and cannot be substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your health, please seek a qualified medical professional. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by Essentially Loved LLC, Essentially Loved Quilts, or Essentially Loved Bits. Reliance on any information provided by this blog or website is solely your own risk.



1. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=antioxidants
2. https://Webmd.com
3. https://www.cigna.com/knowledge-center/hw/medications/bioflavonoids-d00417a1#:~:text=Bioflavonoids%20have%20been%20used%20in,in%20treating%20any%20medical%20condition.
4. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/phytosterols
5. https://bee-health.extension.org/at-what-temperature-does-honey-have-to-be-heated-too-too-destroy-the-health-benefits-for-humans/#:~:text=Heating%20up%20to%2040°,hours%20will%20cause%20rapid%20degradation.
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