(The recipe is at the bottom of the text)
Storing quantities of this 'Elderberry & Ginger Winter Remedy' for when required, should be a staple of all natural health loving households.
Elderberries have long been known by wise old women to be an excellent natural all round medicine (probably a few wise old men too). This is something I was born and raised with, and still continue to practise today.
I found several ideas for a medicinal version of the popular elderberry cordial, but they all contained sugar and none contained ginger. So I ended up concocting this recipe, which embodies everything I consider good for combating colds, pesky sore throats, bacterial and viral infections, as well as creating something you can take daily to help combat cholesterol, improve your vision, as a diuretic, boost your immune system, help with allergies, as an antioxidant, and much more. Elderberries are also slightly laxative in nature, and so will help regulate a sluggish bowel, in a very gentle way.
In Chinese medicine they is used to treat rheumatism and bodily injuries.
Some studies have also begun to indicate that Elderberries have a role to play in combating cancer and some other immune diseases - the anthocyanins help to rebuild damaged cells, as well as protect them via the immune system.
It's a new take on the old saying about an apple a day, "A spoonful a day keeps the doctor away" (sorry apples). But this is something I have done for years throughout the winter.
The compounds found in Elderberries are many, and include vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, amino acids, tannin, rutin, carotenooids, flavonoids (anthocyanins), viburnic acid, and a lot more.
Elderberry & Ginger Winter Remedy Recipe
(The exact quantities are not important, but are more guidelines)
2 lb Elderberries - measured when de-stalked so just the clean berries remain
3 teacups Water
3 teacups Honey
Organic whole Lemon
2 inch piece fresh root Ginger
1. Put the clean berries into a stainless steel saucepan, add the water.
2. Add the juice of the lemon to the berries, and the peel also. Making sure to NOT include the 'pith', which is the bitter white layer beneath the peel/skin and before the actual lemon segments. It is important that the lemon is organic, as non-organic lemons have wax and other nasty chemicals on the skins.
3. Chop the fresh ginger root into small bits, and add them to the berry mix also.
4. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for about 50 minutes. Keep the lid on the saucepan, so as not to loose any of the precious juice by condensation and evaporation. If it looks like the water is too low, add another cup.
5. Turn off the heat and mash the berries with a potato masher, until as much juice as possible is extracted from the berries.
6. Strain the juice and mashed berries through a muslin cloth, or another suitable fine meshed fruit/wine making strainer. Return the liquid to a clean saucepan. The remaining squished berries, lemon bits and ginger are great on the compost heap, given to chickens, or maybe the birds would enjoy them.
7. Add the honey to the mixture in the saucepan.
8. Turn the heat back on, slowly bringing the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Again, keep the lid on the saucepan so as not to loose any of the liquid.
9. While still hot, pour into sterilised bottles and screw the lids on immediately. Tip each bottle upside down for a couple of minutes to ensure complete sterilisation of the lids etc.
This will keep for at least a year, maybe more. But obviously, making fresh batches each year is best, as you will then have fresh berries each year.
Please note: The above recipe is recommended as an aid to good health, combating a cold, sore throats, coughs and the flu. It is in no way intended to be medical advice - if you are at all worried, see your doctor.