There’s nothing better than finding a natural health remedy that tastes great too! Elderberries check all the boxes, offering immune-boosting goodness you can use to banish colds and flus, aid digestion and even relieve allergies. There’s so much more these awesome fruits can do, plus there are delicious immune boosting elderberry recipes your whole family are sure to love. Ready to dive into the benefits of elderberry? Read on!
What is Elderberry?
Elderberries are small purplish black fruits that originally come from the European elder tree. There are dozens of species grown across North America, the most common being the sambucus canadensis – the North American black elderberry. The edible quality of elderberries varies by species, so if you’re planning to harvest wild elderberries, make sure to do your research!
Elderberries have been used to treat colds, flus, fevers, burns, cuts and many more ailments for centuries. Due to low demand, they’re not commonly sold in grocery stores, but if you live in an area where they grow wild or have an elderberry bush, you can make everything from wines to juices, jams, and baked goods with this awesome good-for-you fruit.
What are the Benefits of Elderberry?
1. Boosts Your Immune System
Elderberries are rich in flavonoids, especially anthocyanins, which are responsible for their dark purple colouring. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that boost the immune system, keeping it strong and resilient. They also contain antiviral agents that are thought to be potent enough to kill off viruses, and they’re packed with bioflavonoids that boost the immune system and kill pathogens.
2. Banishes Colds and Flus
One of the elderberry’s most prevalent remedy is getting rid of the common cold and flu. It has been shown to reduce fever, and reduce the symptoms and duration of a cold. It’s an “anti-catarrhal” herb, making it super effective for runny noses and congestion. As an anti-catarrhal herb, it helps prevent excess mucus and helps reduce inflammation in the body.
3. Relieves Allergies
If you deal with allergy symptoms, the elderberry has awesome anti-inflammatory properties to help you get rid of them. If you suffer from inflammation of the sinuses, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, or a runny or stuffy nose, elderberry would be a great remedy for you. It’s a potent herb that’s thought to strengthen the upper respiratory tract, and since it’s an anti-catarrhal, it clears congestion and runny noses caused by allergies.
4. Aids Digestive Health
Elderberries are high in fibre, helping to eliminate constipation, reduce excess gas, and increase digestive health overall. The high fibre content also increases your nutrient intake when you eat, helping you get all you can out of your meals.
5. Aids Urinary Tract/Bladder Infections
Move over, cranberries! Elderberries are here to save the day! Elderberry tea can provide great relief to those suffering from painful urinary tract infections. It acts as a diuretic, increasing urination and flushing out toxins from your system.
When you flush out toxins you’re also getting rid of bacteria that can cause cystitis, reducing the chance of the infection traveling to your bladder or kidneys. Elderberry’s anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation, and can reduce the burning and pain that comes with urination.
What are the Side Effects of Elderberry?
Elderberry is generally safe when cooked. However, it can be unsafe for consumption when the leaves, stems, unripe fruit or uncooked fruit is eaten. Ripe and uncooked fruit can lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
2. Avoid When Breastfeeding
It’s unknown whether elderberries are safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so it’s better to stay on the safe side and not consume them!
How to Cook with Elderberry: 5 Tips
1. Pick Them In-Season
Elderberries are in season from August to October, so this is the prime time to go picking. Look for small purplish black berries hanging in clusters. Stay away from the red variations, as these ones can be toxic. Elderberries grow on small shrubs and can be used for everything from pies and crumbles to jams, sauces and liqueurs.
2. Freeze Them
A good trick is to freeze the elderberries after you pick them. This makes it easier to remove the berries from the stems and also allows you to savour the berries for months to come, so you can continue using them for delicious recipes.
3. Always Cook Elderberries
You should always cook elderberries to ensure any and all toxins are removed. Only use ripe elderberries, and don’t eat any leaves, bark or stalks (you can use a fork to remove them!). If you’re not using a recipe that requires you to cook them thoroughly, you can put them in the microwave to heat them.
4. Tricks of the Trade
If you’re making recipes like muffins and puddings, sprinkle elderberries into crumbles and add them to the recipes before baking them. You can also simmer elderberries down with sugar to accompany meat.
5. Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry syrup is a popular elderberry recipe to make. Simmer the berries with water and sugar, strain the liquid to remove the berries, the return the liquid to the pan. A rolling boil is required until the liquid has reduced and the syrup is formed.
15 Immune Boosting Elderberry Recipes
1. Elderberry Tea | Wellness Mama
2. Immune-Boosting Homemade Elderberry Gummies | Traditional Cooking School
3. Thick Elderberry Syrup | Healthy Christian Home
4. Elderberry Lollipops with Lemon Balm and Lavender | Salt in My Coffee
5. Elderberry Cough Drops | Tasty Ever After
6. Elderberry Jelly | Simply Recipes
7. Probiotic Elderberry Water Kefir | Raia’s Recipes
8. Elderberry Tincture | Learning and Yearning
9. Fermented Elderberry and Honey Soda | Empowered Sustenance
10. Elderberry Popsicles | Wellness Mama
11. Elderberry Immune Boosting Smoothie | Heartfully Nourished
12. Elderberry Syrup with Rose Hips and Astragalus Root | Nitty Gritty Life
13. Frozen Elderberry Drops | Eco Living Mama
14. Elderberry Apple Jam | One Acre Farm
15. Honey, Ginger and Elderberry Lozenges | Irena Macri
Have we got you hooked on elderberries yet? These recipes are sure to please – try them the next time you need some immune-boosting goodness in your household!