It’s that time of year! Coughs and colds can derail your family if left unchecked — prevention is the best medicine. I try to keep a mason jar full of this magic juice in the fridge all throughout the fall and winter. It’s taken me a few different attempts to tweak the recipe to perfection; I started off with two different recipes I found online, then adjusted the ingredients to fit my family’s palate.
4 cups water
1 cup elderberries
2 cinnamon sticks
1 heaping teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup raw honey (switch to grade B maple syrup if using with children under 12 months)
- Pour water in medium saucepan, add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Do NOT add the honey yet.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour (until the liquid has reduced by almost half). Remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled.
- Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl. (I like to strain it twice.)
- Discard or upcycle the elderberries. In the summer months, I boil them again, strain the berries, then mix the juice with lemonade. (Asher loves elderberry lemonade!) Other times, I simply compost them in the garden.
- When the juice is warm (but not hot), add 1 cup of raw honey, and stir well. You don’t want to add raw honey to the hot liquid, because it decreases the health benefits of raw honey.
- Store in a mason jar in the fridge!
Our standard dose is 1 teaspoon for the kids, and 1 tablespoon for adults. Many recommend taking it every other day, or on weekdays but not on weekends. If the cold or flu strikes, take the normal dose every two to three hours until symptoms disappear. Or, if you’re like my husband, just drink shots from the jar.