Prairie View

Friday, August 28, 2020

Elderberry Tonic Recipes and Tips

 I'm summarizing here what appeared on a Facebook thread when I asked for help to know how to deal with my first-ever harvest of elderberries from the garden.  I mentioned that I had a tonic in mind.  It's primarily for my own benefit for future reference, but I'll be happy to hear from readers here if you have something to add, and, of course, if someone else can benefit from the information, that would be a bonus.  I used only the initial of the last name of those who commented--my compromise to protect privacy (since I didn't ask permission for this), while giving me enough information to follow up if I need more help later.

Elderberry Tonic

Recipes:  From Pinterest (and Clare I. and Dorcas B.):

2/3 cup Elderberries, dried

2 tbsp Ginger

1 cup Honey, raw

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Cloves, ground

3 1/2 cups Water

Clare says that the ratio of dried to fresh elderberries is 1:2.  IOW, you will need twice as many fresh berries by volume as dried.  She buys dried elderberries on Amazon.  The process is similar to Hannah's recipe below.

Also, Clare suggests freezing the tonic in ice cube trays and then popping them out into bags so that one at a time can be thawed for use.  This prevents mold from developing if the tonic is not consumed for a number of weeks.  She warns that the cubes will be sticky because of the honey and notes that the juice could be frozen w/o honey, if it were added later.  When someone is sick, Clare adds raw Apple Cider Vinegar and chopped garlic to this tonic–all mixed with water.

From Hannah M.:

1 1/3 cup elderberries (Hannah said 1 1/2 c. and I'm sure that would be OK)

3 ½ cups water

2 T. fresh ground gingerroot (or ½ teaspoon powdered)

1 t. cinnamon (or two 3-inch sticks)

½ t. clove powder (or 2/3 t. whole cloves–in a mesh bag?)

1 cup raw honey

Simmer together everything except honey, for 45-60 minutes.  Strain, mashing berries.  Cool to lukewarm.  Add the raw honey.  

Dosage:  Take ½ t. (kids) 1 t. (adults) once a day for prevention.  Take every 2-3 hours for treatment.

Because Hannah mentioned wishing she had whole spices instead of ground cinnamon and cloves (to  clear up the juice, I assumed), I converted the amounts from Google information.  Then I wondered if the whole cloves might interfere with the mashing of elderberries.  Hence the mesh bag suggestion. The stick cinnamon could easily be removed and the fresh-ground ginger would meld easily into the softened fruit.


More tips:

Zonya G. cooks elderberries in the instant pot with a little water, and then strains the juice.  One website specifically suggests setting the instant pot on high pressure for nine minutes.

Rosanna K. covers with water and cooks before straining. She also mentioned that cooking is necessay since ingesting raw seeds causes severe gastrointestinal distress (vomiting).  Clare also mentioned the need to cook the fruit long enough to avoid stomach cramping.

Kay D. suggests freezing berries until ready for processing.  Clare suggests drying.

Mary B. says Elderberry World is on Facebook.

Cat P. says her friend Josie is a pro.

Jolynn S. freezes them on the stalk and then crumbles them into a juicer (w/o worrying much about some mixed-in stems) and collects the juice straight from the “tap.”  She usually harvests wild-grown berries--if she can beat the birds to the harvest.

I've moticed that my downward facing fruit clusters seem to survive the birds' interest, but the upward-facing clusters are picked clean.  

My harvest is also plagued by having green berries mixed in among the ripe ones.  I assume this may be the same problem that we have with growing grapes here--uneven pollination, and therefore uneven maturity, because of adverse weather conditions during pollination.  I  presume hot and dry (low humidity) weather is the culprit. 


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