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80 responses to “How to Make Elderberry Syrup”

  1. Arethusa

    About de-stemming elderberries – I put the fully loaded stalks of berries on cookie trays and place them in the freezer for a few hours. When the berries are solid, a stalk can be gently stripped in a few seconds, leaving behind all the tiny stems. The frozen berries never get squished between my fingers, and the work goes extremely quickly. I take a maximum of 8 berry stalks out of the freezer at once, as they soften very quickly. Believe me – it is absolutely worth a few trips to the freezer to be able to work with the frozen berries. After they thaw, they are too soft to pull off the stems.

  2. Kenna

    My elderberry efforts were messy. Hands still stained. Should have read your instructions first about freezing. My problem is that the elderberry juice has an odor. Didn’t remember any odor. They were kept chilled, but “stink”. OK, or do I need to throw out?

  3. Annabros

    elderberry syrup is also an excellent medicine – high in vit c and boosts the immune system. you can buy it (ha!) for about £10 per 250ml “Sambucol” or make it yourself..for about 20p per bottle. FUnnily enough, I’ve done the later….

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  5. Eric B

    Over ripe berries will have a smell. If you leave them in a plastic grocery bag for tool long, they will break down and begin to smell. Basically rotten berries stink. One thing I have to watch out for here in NE FL is stink bugs. They love to hang around elderberry plants because they eat other harmful bugs. Too often end up in the bag. Keeping your berries in the freezer or fridge before destemming will keep the bugs from crawling out for a visit.

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  7. Debbie

    I made my first homemade syrup today and since I have nothing to compare the smell and taste to, what should I expect? When I first simmered the berries in the water on the stove, my daughter asked, “what smells like cheese?”! Should I be worried? I have only tried the store version called Sambucol, and that does not taste like this one. If you could help with any info that would be great. Thank you.

  8. Debbie

    I ordered them from Starwest Botanicals online. These to be exact.

  9. Debbie

    I haven’t come across ordering fresh berries and since I never smelled a fresh/dried one before, I have nothing to go on. All I can say is that this does not taste like Sambucol from the store.

  10. Debbie

    Where are some places to order in America? I thought I was saving myself some money by making my own, but it’s become a headache. Thank you.

  11. Debbie

    Thanks for your help. Not quite sure where I’d pick my own, but I may scrap these berries and go with store bought Sambucol.

  12. Freya

    I make elderberry syrup with 1/4 part honey and echinachea as an immune booster for the winter. Simply store in the fridge in a bell *canning)jar and take one delicious tablespoon per day.

  13. Steve C.

    My berries are already off their stems (frozen each day of back yard picking). Hard to judge from the photo – can you estimate how many CUPS of berries go with the 4 cups of sugar?

  14. Steve C

    This compromise worked well: I started with about 6 cups of berries, was forced to use the old potato masher, boiled and strained to get 2 cups of juice. Added two cups of sugar, boiled, produced 2 cups of delicious syrup.

  15. Gypsy

    I wash them on the stem then comb them off with a pik. Remember the comb that was used to style Afros? It works quick and easy.

  16. Harriet

    Elderberries in Southern Ohio smell similar to blueberries to me. They grow in the waterway behind our country home. We have planted some in our back yard near the waterway which has lots of moisture. I don’t have any problem pulling them off the stems although it is a pain but the TV is a distraction. Using a clean plastic tub works well. I find elderberry syrup enhances a blueberry pie! Overall the work involved in picking, cleaning and cooking elderberries is worth it all! Harriet

  17. Karin

    I live in Hampshire England. Just been out picking these plump juicy berries and am sitting in our garden getting the berries off the stems with a fork. Works well. But best to wear gloves to avoid purple fingers. Will go indoors soon to boil them with sugar and a tiny bit of water. Mash them with a spoon or any other kitchen tool. Pour this into cleaned jars. Mine becomes like a jam/syrup and is used for topping on toast, crumpets, cereal, icecream or a spoonful in Champagne or white wine and soda water. Delish! The jars are good in the fridge for a few weeks. Keeping some berries in the freezer so I can make regular fresh batches over the winter. Forgot to say this is lovely to flavour Vodka as well. Drink sensibly and enjoy these amazing berries. ???? Karin

  18. Linda

    Hello! I grew York and Nova variety elderberries outside of Chicago and after a few seasons got a huge crop this year. I got them ready and started cooking them, but the flavor of the juice was like cut grass. Do I have the wrong varieties? I don’t think the American elderberry is the Nigra species like European, but it is more winter hearty. Could the flavor be that off? I let some even ripen more, but the flavor was still unpleasant. I also don’t get the “bloom” on the berries with these bushes. I was hoping to make syrup, but no berry flavor here. Any suggestions?

  19. Donna Black

    I want to know if the Blue Elderberry can be used as a syrup for flu & cold remedy.. They say you should use black elderberry (sambucus nigra)for this syrup for flu & cold. So can blue elderberries be used??? Do different varieties have a different effect?? Or does each variety have their own qualities??

  20. Christine Strode

    I cooked my elderberries down to juice, made some jelly and froze the rest of my juice. I would love to find an elderberry balsamic vinegar recipe I could make with my remaining juice, any suggestions?

  21. Gino Palmeri

    I am so amazed by elderberries’ importance and potential that I’m going way past foraging them; I’ve grown 100 bushes to maturity and I’m planting even more! Here is one method of de-stemming that I like:

    You just get a couple of clean, empty totes or even just buckets and cover them with little precut rectangles of 1/2″ hardware cloth. Sit out in a shady spot and just drag each bunch of berries across it a few times– best while sipping elder flower cordial with a friend!! Pressing lightly from above with your other hand speeds the process. (First strip away any unripe (green) berries from the center of the bunch. Some stems do get through this way, but they are often loose and come out in the rinsing step.

  22. Lewis Ward

    Almost harvest season. Not sure about your method of mashing berries, you’ll get more juice but it will be cloudy and bitter. At least that’s what happens with cooked berries and squeezing the bag.

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