Elderberry Syrup: An Immune Booster

Elderberry Syrup Master Recipe Makes about 20 oz

Flavorful and sweet, elderberry syrup can be added to smoothies, herbal teas, mixed drinks, and fermented sodas, or diluted into hot water or cold sparkling water. For a visually appealing and tasty treat, drizzle this dark magenta syrup onto yogurt, ice cream, custard or cheesecake. It also tastes great spread on pancakes and waffles, or used as cookie fillings. 

Elderberry syrup can also be taken straight by the tablespoonful for nutritional and therapeutic support. Elderberries are rich in iron and bioflavonoids, and are an immune system tonic. They are helpful in preventing infections such as colds and flus; however, if already infected, they help us move through the illness.

To help with proper identification and harvest, please see our illustration below.

 Elderberry identification page from our Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender. Book link:  http://bit.ly/1Auh44Q

Elderberry identification page from our Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender. Book link: http://bit.ly/1Auh44Q

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fully ripe elderberries, stems removed (weighs about 23 oz). When fresh elderberries are not available, I use frozen ones.

  • 1½ cups maple syrup or honey (I prefer maple syrup as I usually don’t cook honey.)

Optional ingredients:

  • Add one or a combination of the following freshly ground, dried spices: 1 teaspoon aniseed, ¼ teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, or 1/8 teaspoon cardamom

  • 1 lime, zest and juice

  Elderberries and maple syrup simmering on the stove.

Elderberries and maple syrup simmering on the stove.

  1. Mix elderberry, sweetener and optional ingredients in a nonreactive 2–3 quart pot, cover, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Remove lid from pot and gently simmer mixture for 5 more minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and purée mixture with a hand-held immersion blender or food processor.

  4. If you would like the syrup to be smooth and seed-free (which I recommended), strain it through a fine-mesh sieve.

  5. Use right away. Or, to store, pour hot syrup into very clean glass jars, cap with tight fitting lids, label, leave out at room temperature to cool, then store in the refrigerator where they should keep for at least three months. For longer storage, freeze the syrup or seal in a hot-water bath.

  Elderberry syrup in jars.

Elderberry syrup in jars.

Recipe excerpt from our Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by (me) Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender. Book link: http://bit.ly/1Auh44Q


 


American Persimmon & Whiskey Infused Morello Cherry Enrobed in Bittersweet Chocolate

A visual journey — playing with unusual fruit and chocolate to create tasty treats for the holidays. 

American persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) — a native American winter fruit, picked today on Dec. 10th in the Mid-Hudson Valley of NY. Right now they taste like gooey carmel meets Barhi date in the house of apricot.

On the plate with the American persimmons are Morellos, a black sour cherry we picked in July. We put the cherries up in whiskey and maple syrup. The liquid is poured off and sipped as a cordial and the cherries are eaten straight or coated in chocolate. 

Here is one of the jars we put up back in July.  (The photo was taken today.) The cherries are steeping (also referred to as macerating) in the liquid and left at room temperature. No heating or canning used here, just time. When making this, the ratio of cherries, to sweetener, to liquor can vary depending on ones taste buds. However one rule needs to be followed: the concoction needs to contains at least 20% alcohol when finished, also referred to as 40 proof. This amount of alcohol preserves the mixture. You can have a higher alcohol content if you like, but not lower, or funky things can happen.

I use organic bittersweet chocolate dollops with a 67% cacoa content that I buy at my Natural Foods Coop in bulk. I gently warm the chocolate in a double boiler, just enough to melt it. Caution: don't over heat the chocolate; proceed slowly and gently.

Tim is holding the persimmon by its calyx and dipping it into the chocolate.

 American persimmon enrobed in chocolate.

American persimmon enrobed in chocolate.

Once dipped, the fruit is cooled by placing it in the refrigerator, freezer or the chilly outdoors until the chocolate hardens. 

 The platter contains American persimmons and whiskey infused Morello cherries enrobed in bittersweet chocolate.

The platter contains American persimmons and whiskey infused Morello cherries enrobed in bittersweet chocolate.

Time to go to the potluck with our platter of unusual fruits dressed in chocolate. Note: make sure to warn folks about the seeds!

Today's pawpaw: a visual essay with ice cream option.

Today's pawpaw: a visual essay with ice cream option.

 Pawpaw fruit  (  Asimina triloba  )  ready for eating as detected by its alluring tropical odor and soft-to-the-touch skin. Notice the color of the skin turns from light green to slightly yellow with a few brown spots when ripe. This is when I prefer to eat them. Note: although not my preference, some folks wait until the skin turns a grayish-brown-black before eating. 

Pawpaw fruit (Asimina trilobaready for eating as detected by its alluring tropical odor and soft-to-the-touch skin. Notice the color of the skin turns from light green to slightly yellow with a few brown spots when ripe. This is when I prefer to eat them. Note: although not my preference, some folks wait until the skin turns a grayish-brown-black before eating. 

 A view of the inside of the fruit. 

A view of the inside of the fruit. 

 Inedible black seeds removed from edible fruit flesh. Seed can be planted right away, or stored in the refrigerator for future planting. For more information on planting seeds and cultivation of trees  click  here  or  here  or  here . For more information on pawpaws in general click  here .

Inedible black seeds removed from edible fruit flesh. Seed can be planted right away, or stored in the refrigerator for future planting. For more information on planting seeds and cultivation of trees  click here or here or here. For more information on pawpaws in general click here.

 Remove the flesh from the inedible skin with a spoon or your mouth. 

Remove the flesh from the inedible skin with a spoon or your mouth. 

 The delicious custardy pawpaw flesh is now ready for eating fresh as is; or made into ice cream. BTW, the pawpaw packs an impressive nutritional profile: 3 oz of fruit supplies more than half of our daily iron needs and over a third of our daily magnesium needs! That's a lot of nutrient density for a fruit. Click to see  more nutritional information . 

The delicious custardy pawpaw flesh is now ready for eating fresh as is; or made into ice cream. BTW, the pawpaw packs an impressive nutritional profile: 3 oz of fruit supplies more than half of our daily iron needs and over a third of our daily magnesium needs! That's a lot of nutrient density for a fruit. Click to see more nutritional information

 Recipe from    Foraging & Feasting: Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook  ,  by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender

Recipe from Foraging & Feasting: Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook, by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender

  Recipe from     Foraging & Feasting: Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook  ,   by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender

Recipe from Foraging & Feasting: Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook, by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender