What was intended as a simple Elderberry syrup for the winter ahead turned into something I can’t get enough of. I think I may have to have one last forage for blackberries and elderberries before it grows too cold.
I found some rosehips on my way home to make the syrup- so I gathered about 12 of these. It was my first time tasting these little treats: boy was I surprised at the delicacy they hold! They are also rich in vitamin c.
I used a ratio of 1:3 blackberry and elderberries. I really wanted the elderberry taste in my syrup, but you could do any combination you wish.
I froze the berries beforehand as this helps break down the fruit. Then I took a teeny amount of not from concentrate apple juice. And poured that on top.
Heat the berries gently, stirring quite a lot. (Do not let a hyperactive child do this for you- this stuff stains!)
If you have a hand blender use this gently to break up the berries when they are beginning to simmer. Once again, be prepared for the odd stain and juice in your eye.. or maybe I’m just a sloppy chef.
You only want to lightly blend as you dont want the elderberry seeds chopped up too fine- they will impart a bitter taste to the syrup. When a little runny like the picture above, stir and begin adding honey.
Work with a little honey at a time, stirring it in quite well. As the mixture begins to boil, dial it back to a simmer.
I used mostly organic, local honey for the syrup but as its quite pricey and a treasured cupboard staple- use sugar to thicken it and get the gloopy consistency.
I mashed again. Really straining the last I could from the berries and rosehips. We don’t have a jellybag to strain our mixture through, and the last time I improvised one I found flies in the mix. This time I took and ordinary fine kitchen sieve and strained the mixture through that. I left the gloopy berries sitting in the sieve above the pot to drip overnight with a lid on top. Every so often I pressed the berries with a wooden spoon.
Next you just have to bottle it up and yum yum yum! This syrup is great for getting vitamin c in, can be taken as a cough medicine, poured over toast or cereal or made up as a hot drink with boiling water. It has a really really nice flavour that I just adore so ill probably use it on everything! When suffering from a cold or flu its recommended to take one teaspoon every four hours. Mmmmm
Now, here’s my favourite part; what to do with all that gloopy berry mess? Compost? Feed to your dog? Noooo. Wine, that’s what!
We took the mess and threw it in the demijohn with some extra blackberries. I mixed in a cup of cold tea (for tannin). I kg of caster sugar heated in water and our yeast mixture and yeast nutrient. It looks divine! I’ll have to wait until next year to tell you if syrup leftovers make nice wine.