Mom in the Mountains | Elderberry Syrup & Tonic

This summer I learned that Elderberries grow locally in Mammoth Lakes, and I was so excited! The elderberry is a dark blue or purple berry that originated from Europe and now grows in North America. These berries have been used for decades medicinally (they are considered a powerhouse). Elderberries have properties that fight against viruses, reduce inflammation, and shorten the duration of the cold and flu. They are high in vitamins A and B, antioxidants, and also boost the immune system. They actually have more Vitamin C than oranges!




So what can you do with these berries? The berries themselves are quite tart and should not be eaten raw as they can cause stomach discomfort. They need to be cooked before using. I learned about elderberry syrup from some local moms in town. I started looking online to order some (before I knew they grew locally). You can easily purchase elderberry syrup, elderberry jam, elderberry vitamin gummies, and more. But, they are expensive! That will add up quickly if I am using it to get my family through the cold and flu season! So I decided to cook my own elderberry syrup to help my family stay healthy. You can take a spoonful daily kinda like you would take a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar to be proactive. Or if you are sick and want to heal more quickly double up on spoonfuls, once in the morning and once in the evening.


So we ventured out on a hike to find some local elderberries to make Elderberry Syrup. We drove about 45 minutes to Pine Creek, Delaney climbs there all the time and told me he’d seen lots of Elderberries growing in the canyon. We didn’t have to hike too far before spotting them. After collecting a bunch I took them home to wash and store. I kept some in the fridge to use fresh and some in the freezer to store for the winter when we need more.



Below are two recipes, one for Elderberry Syrup and one for Elderberry Tonic. If you have a small child under 1 year old, you can make the Elderberry Tonic because it omits the honey. Children under 1 year old should not consume honey just yet. The Elderberry Tonic will be more tart, so if you have toddlers or kids they’ll like the taste of the Elderberry Syrup much better. And if you do add the honey, you will get the added benefits of more antioxidents. Both will give it a little sweetness that kids love. I started giving Izzy the Elderberry Tonic, but now that she’s 15 months old she eats the Elderberry Syrup and to her it seems like candy - she loves it!


Elderberry Syrup | Makes about 16 ounces

170 grams (1 1/3 cups) fresh or frozen organic elderberries or 57 grams (2/3 cup) dried elderberries

3 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons fresh organic ginger root

1 teaspoon organic cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon organic cloves

454 grams (1 cup) organic raw local honey


Elderberry Tonic | Makes 20 ounces

170 grams (1 1/3 cups) fresh or frozen organic elderberries or 57 grams (2/3 cup) dried elderberries

3 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoon fresh organic ginger root

1 teaspoon organic cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon organic cloves


Method If you are using fresh berries wash them thoroughly and de-stem them.

Using a medium saucepan fill it with the water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 45 minutes or until it is reduced by half.

Remove from heat and let cool.

Once cool, use the back of a wood spoon to smash the berries in the pot. You can use your hands, but they will stain a bit.

Pour through a strainer into a glass jar. Press any more juices out of the berries and then discard of the berry pulp. If you are only making the Elderberry Tonic, you are done now. Store it in the fridge.

If making the Elderberry Syrup, continue on.

Add the honey and stir.

Store in the fridge.

Keep refrigerated for up to 2 months.

Adults take 1 tablespoon daily or at onset of symptoms. Toddlers take 1/4 teaspoon daily. Children take 1 teaspoon daily or at onset of symptoms. 


High Altitude - Follow recipe as noted.

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