My teenage son has been fighting a horrible cold/sore throat/sinus/head devil for almost two weeks. We went to the doctor only to have him give us a list of pharmaceuticals to battle the symptoms (not a fan) and a directive to rest and wait (big fan, but teenagers don't do this well.)
One night, kinda late, I sent out a red flag to my buddies on twitter for natural suggestions, any advice for soothing remedies that maybe grow on this planet. Jeanne of The Art of Gluten-free Baking.com came to my rescue with a suggestion for Elderberry Syrup. No, I didn't have Elderberry syrup just hanging out in my cupboard, but ironically I had dried Elderberries.
This is one of those weird things that happens to me now and then - I see something in a shop or a market and if I've never cooked with it, I buy a little bit so I can learn about it later. A couple months ago, I literally wandered into this fantastic Spice Shop called...Spice Station in Santa Monica. I was lucky enough to find a parking spot when I was meeting a client, and there beside it was this little store with wall to wall jars of "something". I knew I'd be late for my meeting, but I had to go find out what kind of tea, spice, magical stems or seeds they were selling.It reminded me of one of my favorite shops during a visit to Munich. As you walk around, the air changes and teases you with grassy, then sweet, then peppery smells. I bought some sexy Vanilla Rooibos tea and a small bag of Elderberries (because I didn't know what you did with them.) Cut to: Elderberry Syrup. Turns out, elderberries have been cold and flu fighters for centuries. It was something that Jeanne knew, already. Check out her site for very honest talk, tried and true gluten-free baking recipes, and to learn about canning.
This elixir is so simple and I made a little jar of the dark, berry goodness and everyday I've been taking a tablespoon of it myself, I've added it to Breathe Deep Tea for my son, and I'm working on a few cocktail recipes for date nights with my husband. Get back to you on how that will "help what ails ya."
RECIPE: ELDERBERRY SYRUP
1 handful of dried Elderberries
2 cups water
* - Bring this to a boil and simmer until it reduces by half. Then, add to the saucepan:
1 cup honey
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
Pinch of fresh cracked pepper* - Bring this to a boil and simmer until it thickens into a syrup that coats the back of a spoon.
* - Strain this into a container to cool, then close and refrigerate (can be used for a couple weeks.)
I've been putting a couple Tbls into each pot of tea. I've also tried it in my coffee and as a simple syrup for cocktails. Everything I've used it in so far, I've loved. If you try it in baking, let me know. I'm thinking of using it in a Salad Vinaigrette for a Spinach and Strawberry salad. Does that sound good?