Elderberry Syrup



  • Ripe elderberries
  • sugar
  • cloves


Pick the fruit on a dry day. Wash well and drain thoroughly. Strip the fruit from the stems and put into a pan, adding just enough water to cover. Simmer for 30 minutes until the berries are very soft. Strain through a jelly bag or muslin and measure the juice. Allow 450 g (1 lb) sugar and 10 cloves to each 600 ml (1 pint) of juice. Heat the juice gently, stirring in the sugar until dissolved. Boil for 10 minutes and then leave until cold. The syrup may be frozen in small quantities or packed into small screw-topped, soft-drink bottles which have been sterilized.

Elderberry syrups of this kind have been used since Tudor times as a stand-by against winter colds. The syrup was said to relieve colds and all chest troubles. It is normally diluted, allowing 2 tablespoons of syrup to a tumbler of hot water and a squeeze of lemon juice. A little whisky may be added if liked. A few drops added to a glass of wine makes an excellent aperitif.

This recipe comes from Mary Norwak.