To celebrate the fall equinox and the turning of the seasons, I’d love to share a simple elderberry syrup recipe with you. Elderberry has been a traditional herbal remedy for hundreds of years; rich in antioxidants and immune-boosting properties, it also adds a deliciously deep, subtle sweet-tart flavor to our baking. Raw elderberry is toxic, however, and must be cooked before consuming. One of the easiest ways to benefit from this plant ally, then, is to make a syrup.
To make the syrup, simply combine one cup of dried elderberries with 4 cups of water, and simmer gently until there are only 2 cups of liquid left. On my stove, this took about 2 hours. Strain and press the berries to squeeze every last drop from them. Return the 2 cups of dark elderberry tea to the stove, and add 2 cups of maple syrup. Gently simmer again for another 30 mins to 1 hour, or longer if you want a sweeter syrup. The mixture will thicken up slightly. Pour into an airtight container and store in the fridge. Toss or compost the used elderberries, or, of you want to go the extra mile, dehydrate and then grind them into a powder for later use.
Through the winter season, I use this syrup in a few different breads and other treats, as well as for pouring directly on morning oats, waffles and pancakes. The flavor of this syrup blends especially well with clove, cinnamon, allspice, rose and chocolate. The deep, rich purple and shy sweetness of this magical berry is not to be missed.