At this time of year I make a big batch of Elderberry and Rose Hip Syrup to keep in the fridge for the first signs of a cold, cough, or if I need a bit of an immunity boost! First of all I pick all the berries and rose hips over a couple of weeks until I have enough to make a good batch. I put them straight into a freezer bag as I pick them, and then straight in the freezer, this not only helps keep all their vitamin content locked in, but helps the little elderberries snap off the branches much more easily!
I have also added Cinnamon, Turmeric and Cayenne Pepper to this syrup for their anti-inflammatory properties! This syrup is yummy and a spoonful can be added to hot water or green tea to make a lovely comforting winter drink!
It is very easy to make, not far off making a jam really, but a few rules to follow are:
You are dealing with extremely hot sugar and it can be very dangerous around young children, animals and tongues that want to taste it when it isn't cooled down enough! It can also spit when it is boiling or suddenly boil over the pan and make a big sticky mess! In other words be careful when boiling the syrup!!!!!
When picking berries please make sure you know the berry you are looking for! If in doubt don't, it could make you very ill if you eat the wrong kind!
Elderberry's woody stems and leaves can give you a tummy ache, so make sure you don't get any in your syrup! This is another good reason to freeze them as I said above, they fall off the steams easily when frozen!
So lets get cooking!
A Good Strong Pan
3 Tightly Packed Cups of Elderberries
1/2 Cup of Rose Hips
2 1/2 Cups of Raw Cane Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
1 Tbsp of Cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp of Turmeric
1/4 Tsp of Cayenne Pepper
First of all pop the Elderberries and Rose Hips in the pan, add the sugar, water and spices and bring to the boil.
Next take of the heat and allow to cool slightly before passing through a sieve to remove all the seeds and skins! Then for an even finer syrup you can pass it through some muslin cloth.
Reintroduce it back to the heat and bring to the boil, and then turn the heat down to a rolling boil. You need to watch the syrup now as this is when the magic happens! Keep stirring, and after 10 minutes take a spoon and place a few drops on the plate, if when the plate is tipped the syrup runs then it is still to thin and needs to be reduced more. After another 10 minutes test it again, if it doesn't run but gently streaks across the plate and when left for a moment to cool becomes very thick, then it is ready! Remember we aren't looking for a really thick set jam consistency here, but a thick syrup like agave. Remove from the heat! And now it's time to sterilise your jar! Boil a kettle and immediately fill your jam jar with the boiling water, also run it over the lid and edges. This will sterilise the jar but make sure you don't touch the inside of the jar or the lid and edges as this will make them unsterilised again! Drain the hot water from the jar and the heat should make it steam dry.
Pour in your thick syrup and close the lid tight! Label and once cool pop in the fridge! This should last the whole of the autumn and winter! Enjoy!