Simmer elderberries in water and you get a rich, dark, syrupy infusion that’s bursting with flavor and perfect for summer drinks.
Because elderberries are antiviral, many folks reach for them in the Fall or during cold season, but I say, why wait? You can start bolstering your immune system now and be ready for Fall when the time comes 😊.
In this season of ragweed pollen and Air Quality Alerts, I find a lush infusion of elderberry “wine” is just what my lungs are craving. Toning to the respiratory system and rich in bioflavonoids, elderberry drinks are sweet treats you can enjoy year round. When paired with refrigerant herbs such as hibiscus, mint, lime juice, and lemon balm, there’s no end to the cooling, immune-boosting concoctions you can create.
Lately, I have been enjoying refreshing glasses of elderberry limeade as well as using elderberry infusion as the liquid in fruit smoothie recipes. Having also had some personal challenges within the past couple of weeks, I feel grateful for elderberry’s immune-fortifying properties—I feel less susceptible to stress-related illness with antioxidant-rich elderberry in my system.
Here are a few tasty recipes for you to try, including Elderberry-Hibiscus Iced Tea. I hope you find endless ways to enjoy the royal purple beverage of Sambucus nigra this summer.
Elderberry Health Facts
- Elderberries antiviral, antibacterial, and enhance respiratory function.
- Elderberries contain chemicals that prevent the flu virus from invading throat cells (its only way to reproduce).
- Elderberries reduce cholesterol, strengthen the veins, and help prevent atherosclerosis.
- Elderberries dramatically reduce the duration and severity of colds, flus, and infections, sometimes up to three days’ time.
- Elderberries are naturally anti-inflammatory.
- Elderberries are approved by the German Commission E for coughs, bronchitis, fevers, colds, hay fever, and sinusitis.
1. Put water and elderberries into a non-reactive saucepan.
2. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
3. Simmer for 15 minutes or more. The longer you simmer, the thicker your infusion will be. It’s an easy road from here to elderberry syrup.
4. Cool, strain, and enjoy!
Cool idea: Pour your sweetened infusion into ice cube trays for a unique addition to summer beverages.
32 oz water
2 oz dried elderberries
Juice of two lemons or limes
Raw honey to taste (you can also sweeten it with fruit juice such as blueberry, grape, apple, etc.)
10 oz water
Mint sprigs (optional)
1. Make a basic elderberry infusion, as described above.
2. In a 16 oz glass, combine 2 oz of cooled elderberry infusion and the lemon or lime juice.
3. Add the rest of the water, sweeten to taste, add the ice, garnish with mint, and enjoy!
Although it’s fun (and cheaper) to make your own homemade infusion, here are some of my favorite pre-made alternatives. It’s nice to have these items on hand if you get sick or feel a summer cold coming on, since you might not feel up to making your own medicine in the throes of respiratory distress. I will warn you, the pre-made elderberry syrup is so delicious it never lasts long in my house.
Happy berrying, and happy August 🙂
Elderberry-Hibiscus Iced Tea
1. Bring two cups of water to a boil and pour over hibiscus, elderberries, and lavender.
2. Cover and steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain and allow to cool.
3. Pour infusion into an iced tea container/jug. Sweeten if necessary.
4. Add ice/cold water until jug is full.