Elderberry Tincture

Dateline: 1 September 2015

(click pictures for larger views)

Elderberry tincture has an established reputation for boosting the immune system and helping to prevent colds and flue. With that in mind I planted four European, medicinal variety elderberry plants in the spring of 2014 (I wrote about it HERE). 

The bushes grew well the first year but they grew really well this year. In fact, they grew bigger than I ever expected them to. Here's a picture...


The berries came and ripened around the end of August.  They were much larger in diameter than the native, wild elderberries in this region...



At their peak of ripeness Marlene picked the clusters of berries. I sorted the stems from the berries, put them into canning jars, and added alcohol...


The simplest way to make elderberry tincture is to pour the alcohol over the berries, cap the jar and set it in a dark place for a couple of months, shaking occasionally. The liquid will be strained from the berries later.

We have used Vodka to make tinctures in the past. I read somewhere online that Everclear (190 proof alcohol) is better. And another online article said that Brandy makes a better tasting tincture. So I'm trying both.

There are still some berries on the bushes and we are going to try making a small batch of tincture with vegetable glycerine. Tincture without alcohol would be our preference but my understanding is that the alcohol extracts more of the "good stuff" out of the berries than glycerine.

Does anyone reading this have firsthand knowledge and experience making tinctures with glycerine? Or do you have another recipe that you have personally used to make your own elderberry-based, immune-boosting, homemade medicine?



17 comments:

timfromohio said...

Do you have to squash the berries at all?

Thanks,

TimfromOhio

Herrick Kimball said...

I didn't squash them. I don't think it is necessary. But I may be wrong.

Schalk said...

Here is a link I read the morning on how to make Elderberry syrup.
http://104homestead.com/how-to-make-elderberry-syrup/

Anonymous said...

Elderberry jelly on toast helps me alot. :-)

Jim

Herrick Kimball said...

Schalk—
Thanks. We may try making that. Lots of honey!

Jim—
Yeah, that sounds good. I'm partial to elderberry pie.

Anonymous said...

We have been using a homemade syrup for the past several years similar to the one posted above. My 5 little ones love it! If we happen to come down with something, it was definitely cut short (compared to others around us who also got sick. I would love to be able to get fresh berries. All I have access to right now are dried. One day maybe.
Diane

Anonymous said...

I took elderberry syrup (sambucus) that I bought on Amazon. I am not in a situation right now where I could grow the berries for myself.
I was the ONLY person in my office who did not get a cold or the flu last winter and the ONLY person who declined the flu shot. So I think it really does work.
Anytime I am exposed to a sniffle or a flu or if the news says the flu is going around in my area, I start taking the elderberry!

Anonymous said...

This is the syrup I make every winter. Yum. Simple. Good enough to go on ice cream.
http://www.crunchybetty.com/elderberry-cough-and-cold-syrup-recipe-video-tutorial

This year is my first harvest too! Before I purchased them dried. I have a Scotia and a Bob Gordon tucked into my city back yard like a secret. Only at the rate Bob is growing, that won't be for long. He cleared the privacy fence in June.

Kendra

Chris said...

This is very timely.
Couple weeks ago I was in a local co-op here in WI and there was a table with samples of elderberry juice. I tried it, it was great. The fella at the table explained to me all the great benefits and gave me a brochure with links to university studies proving the effects of elderberries. I found the website very informative, there's recipes too.

Here is the website:http://minnesota-elderberry.coop/

Oh, by the way, they were selling it for $20 a bottle :D

lin said...

The bushes are beautiful! I had hoped to grow bushes this year, but no such luck. I've been making glycerin-based tincture using dried elderberries.

Keep us the good work, and thanks for sharing!

Michael Warwick said...

If you used Everclear, before drinking add about equal parts water. This will bring in down to about 97% alcohol or 48 proof. The water in the fresh berries will cut the proof a little more.

Herrick Kimball said...

Wow, thanks everyone for the great feedback and useful links!

Anonymous said...

Michael's numbers are switched. Proof is twice percent.

Michael Warwick said...

Anon, You are correct, but it still needs to cut down to around 80 proof.

Herrick Kimball said...

Well, today we made the syrup recip eat Schalk's link...

How To Make Elderberry Syrup

It sure does taste good!

Herrick Kimball said...

Michael—
Sounds good. I will dilute the finished product. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

When my young children get colds I crack open a jar of my blue elderberry syrup and drizzle it into a cup of "hot spiced lemonade" -5 lemons sliced, skins and all and steeped in 2 quarts of boiling water with some cloves and a cinnamon stick for 30 minutes. Add a spoonful of raw honey for a nice sore-throat-soother and they guzzle that stuff right down! Love your blog BTW. We just made our first order from you-poultry shrink bags for our meat ducks we'll be doing next Saturday! Thanks for all your innovation! -Winterwood Farm