Elderberries: they’re a lesser known berry variety that we all should be eating more of, today. Elderberries provide a whole host of health benefits that will support a healthy diet and lifestyle. Plus, they’re delicious! With a deep purple or black hue and shiny exterior, elderberries are pleasing to both the eye and the palette. These berries are incredibly high in Vitamin C (source) and antioxidants (source), which can help you fend off illness and maintain healthy body function.
Elderberries are one of my go-to ingredients because they have a unique, delicious flavor and help me cut down on inflammation. After all, inflammation is one major trigger of health issues from heart disease to depression, so finding ways to manage it with the food we eat is important. Plus, when we eat inflammation-busting foods, our diets will be healthier overall, and we’ll be more likely to lose weight. (source)
Elderberries aren’t just a nutrition powerhouse. They're tasty and versatile ingredient for all sorts of fabulous recipes. Below, you’ll my five all-time favorite elderberry recipes. Trust me, whether you need a memorable treat for a dinner party, want to make a healthy weekend dessert, or need an immune-boosting refreshment, these elderberry goodies are sure to hit the spot.
1. Elderberry Syrup
Since elderberries must be cooked in order to be eaten, given that they’re poisonous when eaten raw, syrup is a fantastic use for them. Plus, eating elderberry syrup is known to be an effective treatment for cold and flu symptoms, among other common conditions (source).
Elderberry syrup only really needs two basic ingredients, elderberries and water, but I also add honey for an added touch of subtle sweetness. The elderberry to water ratio should be one to three. So, for every cup of elderberries, you’ll need to add three cups of water to make syrup.
To make your elderberry syrup, follow these steps:
- Put the water and elderberries in a saucepan.
- Make sure that there’s at least two extra inches of space in the pan once you’ve added the ingredients.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
- Once it reaches a boil, immediately lower the heat and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Simmer the mixture until its volume has halved.
- Blend or mash the mixture until smooth.
- Add a few teaspoons of honey to taste and stir until dissolved.
- Store the syrup in an airtight bottle or jar in the refrigerator. (source)
Your elderberry syrup will stay good in the refrigerator for many months. You can pour this delectable syrup on pancakes, waffles, or even vanilla ice cream for a classic summer treat with a twist. Or, if you’re suffering from a cold or other illness and need an antioxidant-packed pick-me-up, drink down a spoonful or two of elderberry syrup on its own.
2. Elderberry Pie with Oatmeal Pie Crust
Pie: it’s a classic American dessert and a favorite among people of all ages. This pie recipe is a healthier alternative to the typical fruit pie, combining the superfood qualities of elderberries with the wholesome nutrition of oats. The inclusion of oats instead of flour in the pie crust means that this recipe is gluten-free, so it’s a safe bet to bring to parties and get-togethers.
As a healthier alternative to traditional pie crust, which is packed with butter and white flour, this elderberry pie features an oat-based pie crust. Oats are a whole grain and are packed with fiber. With health benefits ranging from the support of healthy digestion to the reversal of inflammation, you’ll be glad that you used oatmeal instead of traditional flour in this pie crust (I know that I am!). (source)
To make the oat pie crust, you’ll need:
- 1 ½ cups of oats.
- 2 teaspoons of table sugar.
- ½ teaspoons salt.
- ¼ cup coconut oil.
- A few Tablespoons of water, as needed.
To start, grind the oats in a blender or food processor to achieve a flour-like consistency. Then, add all of the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix together. Add the olive oil and stir until the mixture has a crumbly appearance. To moisten the dough, add a four to six tablespoons of water, one at a time, kneading after each addition. Stop adding water once the dough is moist to the touch, but doesn’t yet stick to your fingers.
Press the dough with your hands into a pie plate, remembering the work it up the sides of the plate. (source)
To make the filling for your elderberry pie, you’ll need:
- 3 ½ cups of raw elderberries.
- 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.
- 1 Tablespoon of salted butter, melted.
- 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch (as a thickener) (source)
Mix all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Then, pour the mixture into the set pie crust. Bake the pie at 400 °F for about 40 to 45 minutes. The pie is delicious alone, but you may also serve it with a refreshing accompaniment like whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
3. Elderberry Jam
Elderberry jam is a versatile condiment that you can make at home. Spread it on toast, scones, or biscuits; serve it as a fruity addition to a cheese plate at your next dinner party; or add it to your stack of Sunday pancakes instead of the typical blueberry.
The whole family will love having a jar of elderberry jam in the refrigerator, and you can all enjoy its many health benefits all year round. After all, the elderberry season is relatively short and differs from region to region. Overall, elderberries are available from May to November (source).
To make elderberry jam, you’ll need:
- 6 cups of elderberries.
- 1 T of lemon juice.
- 1 T of pectin.
- 1 ⅛ cups of sugar.
To make your elderberry jam, follow these steps:
- Soak the elderberries overnight in a bowl of water to soften.
- Place the elderberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Measure out one cup of the mixture from the pot. Place in a blender, add the pectin, and blend until smooth.
- Return the blender contents to the pot. Bring the mixture back to a boil, reduce to medium heat, and stir for ten minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the jam to airtight jars and store in the refrigerator. (source)
If you go through jam slowly, consider freezing half of the batch so that you can thaw and enjoy it throughout the year. Since elderberries are in season during the summer, but cold and flu season usually occur during winter months, it’s a wonderful idea to have some of this restorative elderberry jam on hand whenever you need it.
4. Elderberry Tea
There are few better natural remedies for cold symptoms than a hot cup of tea. Tea isn’t just a placebo – it’s actually been shown to reduce congestion in the sinuses and chest, increase hydration, and reduce inflammation (source). Whether you have a sore throat or need to wind down at the end of a stressful day, brewing a comforting mug of tea will help you feel better from the inside out.
Combine the benefits of hot tea with the health perks of elderberries and you have the ultimate illness-fighting drink. This recipe uses dried elderberries for a pungent flavor and an assortment of warm spices to perk up your immune system.
To brew this elderberry tea, you’ll need:
- 6 cups of water.
- 3 Tablespoons of dried elderberries.
- 1 inch of sliced fresh ginger.
- 2 cinnamon sticks.
- 2 pieces of cardamom.
- 4 whole cloves.
- Honey to sweeten, if desired.
To brew the tea, follow these steps:
- To brew the tea, place the water, elderberries, ginger, and all of the spices into a large pot.
- Set the pot on the stove and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Strain the tea and enjoy or store for up to a few days. (source)
I love to make a large batch of this tea and enjoy it throughout the week. It’s best when it’s warm, but you can enjoy it iced for a refreshing summer drink. You can also pour this elderberry tea into a thermos and drink it on-the-go when you’re feeling under the weather.
5. Elderberry Soda
Especially during the hot summer months, we all have cravings for a cool, refreshing beverage. This elderberry soda will fulfill that craving. It’s made with fresh elderberries for maximum nutritional benefit and is effervescent for a fun, bubbly treat.
To make your elderberry soda, you’ll need:
- 4 cups of fresh elderberries.
- 4 cups of water.
- 4 cups of seltzer water.
- ¾ cup of honey.
Follow these steps to make the soda:
- Place the elderberries a large pot with 4 cups of water and simmer over medium heat.
- Simmer the berries for half an hour over low heat.
- Leave the berries to cool completely, then strain the mixture to take out the berries.
- Add the honey to the syrup mixture and stir until completely dissolved.
- Transfer the syrup mixture to a larger jug, if needed, and pour in the seltzer water.
- Stir and enjoy! (source)
This elderberry soda is a healthier alternative to typical soda, which is often packed with artificial sugars (source). Honey is a natural sweetener and perfectly compliments the tart elderberry flavor.
So, there you go: five exceptional elderberry recipes that I love to make in my kitchen. Elderberries have had a huge positive impact on my diet and my health, so I’m thrilled to have shared this list with you. I hope you’ll find that these inflammation-fighting elderberry treats will increase your energy levels and leave you feeling refreshed. They’re an ideal addition to any healthy, active lifestyle.
Did you enjoy this elderberry-packed recipe list? I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, and suggestions in the comments section. And, if you love these recipes as much as I do, please remember to share this article with your friends – I’m sure that they’ll appreciate the magic of elderberries, too!