Friday, January 03, 2014

Elderberry Syrup

My body appears to have an understandable bias against the air in Houston. I don't know if it's the pollution or if there is some other kind of weird allergen in the air that bothers me more here than anywhere else I've lived, but the allergies have been hitting me hard in that debilitating, nearly flu-like kind of way. This is probably compounded by the fact that I really do have a bad habit of running myself ragged and only stopping when my body freaks out on me. On account of this I decided I should make some elderberry syrup to take daily, and since the Piggy (this is Ilana's nickname) also appears to have my allergies, for her to take daily as well. Although I make this for medicinal reasons (tablespoon daily for adults, teaspoon for little ones) it also has a lot of fun culinary applications. You can use it in place of maple syrup on waffles or pancakes, it goes well on ice cream and frozen yogurt and can be part of a sauce to top delicious things like lamb chops. The sky is the limit with this simple recipe and you can incorporate immune building yums with just about anything else you like to eat. Hope you enjoy!

1/2 cup dried elderberries (these can be purchased in health food stores, homebrew shops and online)
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups water

Combine all in a small saucepan and put the stove to medium or medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar is melted then turn the stove down to low or medium-low and let simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain, retaining the liquid and tamp the berries down in the strainer with a wooden spoon to get all the syrup out of them as well. Transfer to a container (I use a small sized Maker's Mark bottle for this which is kind of bad because now when the Piggy sees a MM bottle she opens her mouth and is excited for her spoonful of syrup which probably means I'll need to explain about repurposing things a little younger than I intended so she doesn't think all bourbon bottles contain sweet things) and put the lid on once it's cooled to room temperature.

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