This homemade elderberry syrup recipe is easy and a go-to of mine during cold and flu season.  With just a few minutes of work, you have an amazing, tried-and-true immune boosting syrup in hand and it is so much cheaper than store bought!

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jars of Instant Pot elderberry syrup cooling in jars

I don’t recall who first suggested I take elderberry syrup to help boost my immune system, but man am I glad they did! For years, it has been my go-to staple to  help keep me and my family healthy despite the plethora of germs we encounter. As a preschool teacher and mom to a kindergartener, germs are just going to be part of life. Truly, there is no escaping them. So I’ve made peace with that fact and give myself and my family our best fighting chance at staying healthy by keeping our immune systems on point.  And I can truly say that I feel elderberry syrup has been a major player in that.

Black elderberries (also known as sambucus nigra) are magical little wonders of immune boosting power. They have been found not only to give your body the tools it needs to fight germs, but to also help your immune system to bounce back faster once illness strikes. Naturally containing vitamins A, B and C, the syrup made from elderberries has been a well-loved natural remedy for generations and elderberries’ natural healing properties have been well researched. In fact,

“in one  study conducted by Israeli virologist Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, 93.3% of the people taking an elderberry preparation reported significant improvement in influenza symptoms within 2 days of starting it, compared with the 6 days it took for the placebo group to see improvement.” (source)

For the longest time, I bought elderberry syrup. First from the health food store (where it cost mega bucks and came loaded with cane sugar) and then I bought it homemade from a friend who created hers with a blend of other naturally immune-boosting foods (honey and cinnamon are two of the most typical ingredients found in elderberry syrup).

However, when my elderberry-cooking friend moved out of the country, I decided I wanted to try my hand at making my own elderberry syrup in hopes of saving a few bucks and being a bit more in control of the ingredients.

As I researched different recipes for elderberry syrup and started to create my own, I noticed that cooking time for stove-top elderberry syrup took roughly about an hour.  That was all well and good to make as part of my weekly meal prep on a sleepy Sunday afternoon. However, I one week I got off my game and found my family without our immune boosting elderberry syrup at the end of a busy Monday.

As I poured the very last drop of elderberry syrup into a measuring spoon to give my daughter, I grumbled a bit about how bummed I was that I didn’t have time to make more. Until I noticed my Instant Pot hanging out in my closet.

It’s no secret that I’m having a love affair with my Instant Pot. Just when I thought I had found all the tricks and healthy living hacks a busy mama could mentally collect, I got myself an Instant Pot and life got even easier.

So when I was desperate to restock my elderberry stash, but seriously low on time to cook it…I turned to my beloved Instant Pot.

And it worked beautifully! Within 30 minutes, my elderberry jars were again full and hanging out in my fridge…waiting to help my family keep fighting the good fight in staying healthy this cold and flu season.

A step by step of how to make elderberry syrup

When to take elderberry syrup

Elderberry stimulates the immune system, but it can’t 100% prevent your from getting sick. Just give your immune system a little extra ammo.

I find it helpful to take and start giving it to my family when the people around us start getting ill or before a trip (new place = new germs our bodies aren’t used to).

I also will take it when I notice myself coming down with something viral. I find that elderberry syrup can help me bounce back to health faster when taken within 48 hours of noticing the yuck.

Who should NOT take elderberry syrup

Again, I am not a doctor or medical professional. Just a lady who likes to cook, keep her family healthy and educate herself via research found on the internet as much as possible. ALWAYS talk to your doctor regarding new things you are adding into your life or family’s life to make sure they are a good thing for YOU.

With that in mind, there is some research that shows that elderberry syrup is amazing for many people but not for all. Here is what I found when researching who should avoid taking elderberry syrup.

  • Anyone with an autoimmune condition.
  • Anyone pregnant or lactating.
  • Young children (again, talk to your child’s doctor about if elderberry syrup is safe for them and at what age he/she recommends it). There have been very few studies involving children and elderberries, so there is not one blanket recommendation about what age it is safe to start it. I do opt to use it with my daughter who is 8 years old.

The recommended dosages for elderberry syrup can vary, but the dosage that I personally follow:

  • 1/2-1 tablespoon a day for a healthy adult
  • 1/4-½ tablespoons for my young daughter

Of course, always consult your doctor for a recommended dosages for your unique body and family.

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cooling elderberry syrup in jars
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Elderberry Syrup Recipe

This homemade elderberry syrup recipe is easy and a go-to of mine during cold and flu season.  With just a few minutes of work, you have an amazing, tried-and-true immune boosting syrup in hand and it is so much cheaper than store bought!
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time22 minutes
Keyword: homemade elderberry syrup
Calories:

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried elderberries
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1/2 inch piece ginger root
  • 3/4 cup honey (or to taste) ( I suggest using local raw honey if possible)

Instructions

For Instant Pot

  • Combine water, dry elderberries, cinnamon stick, star of anise, and fresh ginger in your Instant Pot.
  • Cover and lock the lid into place on your Instant Pot. Make sure the vent is on sealing. Set your Instant Pot to “MANUAL” and cook the syrup on “HIGH PRESSURE” for 7 minutes
  • Once cooking time is complete, naturally release the pressure and remove the lid. Switch settings to “SAUTE” and allow the syrup to cook uncovered for about 10 minutes or until liquid has reduced by about half.
  • Once the syrup is done cooking, pour it through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Using a spoon, press all the remaining liquid out of the berries by pressing them against the mesh strainer. Once all liquid has been drainer, discard cooked berries, cinnamon stick, ginger and star of anise.
  • Once the syrup is cool, add the honey to the elderberry syrup. Mix to help it combine into the syrup. If you desire a sweeter syrup, you can add more honey.
  • Portion out syrup into air-tight glass containers (I use mason or jelly jars). Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

For stove top

  • Combine water, dry elderberries, cinnamon stick, star of anise, and fresh ginger in in a large pot. Bring mixture to a boil.
  • Cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
  • Once the syrup is done cooking, pour it through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Using a spoon, press all the remaining liquid out of the berries by pressing them against the mesh strainer.
  • Once all liquid has been drainer, discard cooked berries, cinnamon stick, ginger and star of anise. Once cool, add the honey to the elderberry syrup. Mix to help it combine into the syrup. If you desire a sweeter syrup, you can add more honey.
  • Portion out into air-tight glass containers (I use mason or jelly jars). Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks