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!

Fruit Mousse Pie

Fruit Mousse Pies are wonderful to serve during the holiday season. Very refreshing and perky, they balance the richness of a typical Thanksgiving meal. The recipe I share with you below comes from my book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook.

 Berry picking in late July — blackberries and red & purple raspberries. Most of these berries were made into a Fruit Coulis and then frozen. From the Fruit Coulis I then make Fruit Mousse Pie, among other tasty things. The pie you see below was made this past Friday from red raspberries I picked in July. 

Berry picking in late July — blackberries and red & purple raspberries. Most of these berries were made into a Fruit Coulis and then frozen. From the Fruit Coulis I then make Fruit Mousse Pie, among other tasty things. The pie you see below was made this past Friday from red raspberries I picked in July. 

Can you tell the difference between a blackberry and a black raspberry (see our images below)? Both are tasty and edible, so no toxic worries, yet it is still fun to know which plant you are harvesting/eating. 

 From the book   Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook   by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

  From the book    Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook    by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

Here I am holding the Raspberry Mousse Pie after it has set in the refrigerator for a few hours. Now it's ready for slicing. This version has elderberries which I froze in September and sprinkled on top. The crust is a raw pressed crust made from hazelnuts and dried apricots. 

 Raspberry Mousse Pie with Elderberries sprinkled on top — recipe from the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender

Raspberry Mousse Pie with Elderberries sprinkled on top — recipe from the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender

Sweet offerings: Raspberry Mousse Pie sprinkled with elderberries, homemade maple-sweetened whipped cream (from organically fed, grazed cows), house-made bittersweet organic chocolate covered black sour Morello cherries (whiskey infused), and American persimmons just picked from our tree = the dessert menu from this past Friday's dinner.

dessertEvan's2.jpeg
  From the book     Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook     by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender  .

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

Fruit Coulis

Fruit coulis pack serious flavor and nutrients. This is my favorite way to process berries and small fruits as they whirl through the landscape. The Fruit Coulis Master Recipe below is from my book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender. May it bring tasty nourishment into your life. 

Hazelnut Chocolate Cookies flavored w/ aniseed: flour-less; dairy free option

The making of a seriously decadent and tasty treat, featuring hazelnuts, or other wild nut of choice, and organic chocolate. Aniseeds lend a delicate flavor to the deep rich, fudge-like cookie — wild fennel seeds or green sweet cicely seeds can be used instead. This flour-less recipe can be made with delicious, luscious coconut oil rather than butter, if desired. 

Thank you to The Village Tea Room for the recipe inspiration.

 The cookie ingredients.

The cookie ingredients.

 Gently melting the butter and chocolate in a hot water bath — home-rigged double boiler (aka baine marie). Gentle means the heat of the water isn't touching the vessel that the butter and chocolate are in. Also keep water out of the vessel or textural issues ensue.

Gently melting the butter and chocolate in a hot water bath — home-rigged double boiler (aka baine marie). Gentle means the heat of the water isn't touching the vessel that the butter and chocolate are in. Also keep water out of the vessel or textural issues ensue.

 The cookie dough, well mixed and ready for scooping onto the baking sheet.

The cookie dough, well mixed and ready for scooping onto the baking sheet.

 Cookie dough scooped from a tablespoon onto the cookie sheet.

Cookie dough scooped from a tablespoon onto the cookie sheet.

 After baking, cookies are removed from the baking sheet with a spatula and left to cool on racks.

After baking, cookies are removed from the baking sheet with a spatula and left to cool on racks.

  The result: a pile of cookies that will disappear faster than lightening!

The result: a pile of cookies that will disappear faster than lightening!

Recipe:

  • 2 oz (4 tablespoons) grass-fed butter or virgin coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup Sucanat or granular maple sugar
  • 2 free range fertile eggs
  • 1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
  • 8 oz bittersweet organic chocolate* chunks, dollops, or chips (to be melted)
  • 2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
  • 7 oz bittersweet organic chocolate* chunks, dollops, or chips, chopped (not melted)
  • 2 cups chopped* hazelnut (preferably soaked and dried) or other nut of choice — I have used coconut, walnuts, cashew, green pumpkin seeds, almonds, singly or combined. FYI, coconut is does not need soaking and drying. 
  • 2 tablespoons aniseed (or sweet cicely seed), freshly ground

*Chocolate note: I suggest using 65-70% chocolate so it's more chocolate and less sweet. On a more extreme taste note, for those of us, like myself, who are eating very low sweet / starch, I have been known to use an organic 100% chocolate chip that produces a more intense, somewhat bitter cookie (this extreme not recommended for the average palate).

*The nuts need to be chopped / crushed into moderate size particles, so not finely ground, but not too coarsely chopped either. If making with coconut, use the shredded unsweetened dried version, not the larger flakes. If still not clear, let me know.

 

  1. Gently melt the 8 oz bittersweet chocolate chunks and butter in a hot water bath. Stir well and cool the mixture to room temperature. 
  2. Meanwhile beat eggs, Sucanat and vanilla in large bowl with a mixer until well incorporated and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chocolate-butter mixture to egg mixture and beat until well combined.
  4. In medium sized-bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients: cocoa powder, sea salt, 7 oz chopped chocolate chunks, chopped nuts, and aniseed. Add to the egg/chocolate mixture and mix well.
  5.  Scoop cookie dough with a tablespoon onto an un-greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 350 for 9 minutes. 
  7. Remove cookies from baking sheet with a spatula and cool on wire racks.
  8. Once fully cooled, store in tightly lidded containers in a cool place.

Makes 26 cookies

 

Wild Berry Picking

More #WildBerry picking: #blackberries w/ a few #raspberries. Gathered about 3 gallons this morning. The blackberries are very tasty and super abundant this year! Turning most of the berries into coulis and then freezing the coulis to use throughout the year. Today's featured blackberry recipe here at the house will be ice cream made w/ fresh raw grassfed cream.