Homemade rosehip and elderberry cold-bustin’ syrup :
Daylight hours are diminishing fast and the garden is giving up the last of its bounty. As an Autumn head cold takes grip, the glossy elderberries and wild rose hips in the boundary hedge and plump, shiny rosa rugosa hips in the garden catch my attention. The time has come to make rosehip and elderberry syrup. Of course I could just reach for a Lemsip but that wouldn’t be as much fun! Elderberries & rose hips both pack a powerful vitamin C punch and are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, great for dealing with unwanted maladies that the winter months can bring. Leaving enough for the birds, I gather my harvest* – about 2 handfuls of elderberries and roughly 3 cups of hips, left them to sit a while for small creatures to make their escape then rinsed them in water and removed stalks, outer sepals or any green bits that aren’t actual fruit. Be sure to take out any green elderberries at this point. Then I sought inspiration from a Rosalee de la Forêt recipe for elderberry syrup from her recent book –Alchemy of Herbs.
Here’s an adaption for my own cold-busting syrup.
- About 350g of fruit – mixture of elderberries, wild and garden rose hips, rinsed and destalked
- Enough apple juice to just cover the fruit
- 9g dried liquorice root (you could probably use a few liquorice teabags instead)
- 2 tbsp dried rosemary
- A fresh sprig of thyme
- 340g organic honey
- Muslin / jelly bag to strain the fruit
Placing the first three ingredients in a pan I brought it to the boil and then simmered it, covered, for about 20 mins. You may need to add some water to reduce the thickness of the finished syrup- depending on your preference. Turning off the heat I threw in the rosemary and thyme, returned the lid and left for about an hour to cool. I then stained the lot through muslin, added the honey, mixed well and decanted it into sterilised glass bottles. Makes approx. 400ml. Kept in the fridge it should last for a few months. I do have some another small batch of fruit in the freezer to make a mid-winter top up.
A tasty addition to morning porridge, delicious on pancakes, great with fruit and yogurt. It’s pleasant to take neat or you can add hot water to make a warm drink. To ward off nasty cold and flu bugs take daily and more frequently at the onset of tickly throat, runny nose or achy bones. Hopefully it will see you sailing through winter without succumbing to the customary coughs and colds.
*As with all foraging, be sure you have identified your berries and hips correctly before consuming. Use a reliable field guide if need be.
This post was written by Karen Winkens for www.greenjamjar.com where it was originally published.