Using Local Elderberry to Create a Syrup Known for Its Health Benefits

Sep 28, 2017

The elderberry has long been used in the kitchen as well as in the medicine cabinet. Dried elderberries give all year round in taste; the many things you can cook them with and for their health benefits. Ali Berlow speaks with Holly Bellebuono, an herbalist, educator and author, living in West Tisbury.

Recipes

Berry Blue Mulling Blend

An anti-oxidant rich combination of wild and cultivated berries and spices, this blend will enliven a pot of apple cider or revive a small pot of hot red wine. Complex and deep, this is a bright mulling blend that seems to fortify the blood from the inside out. (Add the chaste-tree berries if you have them available and if you want to include this traditional women’s herb for monthly balance.)

1 cup dried elderberries

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup dried blueberries

1 cup dried goji berries, optional

1 cup chaste-tree berries, optional

1/2 cup allspice

1/2 cup peppercorns

2 to 4 teaspoons sugar, optional

Fresh lemon slices, to serve

Candied ginger, to serve

In a large bowl, blend all the ingredients (except the sugar) together. Store in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. To use, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of mulling spices and 2 to 4 teaspoons of sugar to a half-gallon of apple cider or lemonade in a large pot. Simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain and garnish with fresh lemon slices or candied ginger. Sip while hot.

Alternatively, brew this as a decoction by simmering 2 teaspoons of the herbal mixture for every cup of boiling water for 12 to 15 minutes. Yields about 1 quart dry blend.

From The Healing Kitchen by Holly Bellebuono, © 2016 by Holly Bellebuono. Illustrations © 2016 by Vikki Chu. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com

Bright Vinegar for Colds

Support your immune system with daily teaspoons of this intense, heady, and aromatic vinegar. My children are vinegar fanatics and regularly sip this vinegar from a spoon all winter long. They love the tangy flavor and intensity in the mouth. Make this vinegar in the harvest season of autumn so it’s ready for you to take at the first sign of a cold or the flu; mix a teaspoon of the vinegar in a small cup of water and sip either cold or hot.

2 to 3 cups vinegar

1 cup dried elderberries

1 cup fresh thyme

1 cup fresh cleavers

1/2 cup fresh onion, chopped

1/2 cup fresh garlic, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup fresh or store-bought horseradish root

Gently warm the vinegar in a saucepan on the stovetop. Place the herbs in a 1-quart glass jar. Pour the warmed vinegar over them, gently swirl to remove air bubbles, and cap tightly with a non-metal lid. Place the jar on a small dish to catch any liquid that may ooze out, and store in a dark cupboard or shelf for 2 weeks, or up to 6 months. Strain, reserving the liquid. Store the vinegar in a clean jar or bottle, labeled, and use within two years. 

Yields 1 quart.

From The Healing Kitchen by Holly Bellebuono, © 2016 by Holly Bellebuono. Illustrations © 2016 by Vikki Chu. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com

Immunity Smoothie

This blend of immune-supporting herbs has a strong and pronounced, but not unpleasant, medicinal flavor and is good mixed with strong fruits such as pineapple, grapefruit, and orange.

For the Immunity Powder Blend

4 teaspoons echinacea powder

4 teaspoons astragalus powder

2 teaspoons elderberry powder

1 teaspoon licorice powder

For the smoothie

2 cups frozen pineapple, grapefruit, and/or orange

2 cups pineapple juice

1 rounded teaspoon Immunity Powder Blend

Combine the herbal powders in a small jar, label, and store.

To use, blend the frozen fruits with the pineapple juice. Add the Immunity Powder Smoothie Mix and blend well. Drink cold.

Yields 1/2 cup dry mix, or about 3 cups smoothie.

From The Healing Kitchen by Holly Bellebuono, © 2016 by Holly Bellebuono. Illustrations © 2016 by Vikki Chu. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com