Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) have been ripe for several weeks now, and their season is coming to an end, but if you are quick you can still find plenty adorning the hedgreows, enough for these two simple immune system boosting remedies.
I love elderberries as much as I love elder flowers. I eat them straight from the tree and they taste like jam. I pick them and they stain my fingers almost black. They bring out the child in me, who to be fair is never far from the surface. Picking elderberries, just like picking elder flowers, makes me joyful.
They seemed to be ripe early this year, I first noticed a rich black head of berries about a month ago (10/08). Of course once you notice something you see it everywhere so a week later I picked a load and made two of my favourite things; elderberry tincture, and elderberry ice cubes!
The ice cubes of couse are most simple. If you have a juicer simply juice and pour the juice into an ice cube tray, if you dont have a juicer you can crush them with a spoon through a sieve. Otherwise just leave the picked berries to sit for a while and over a few hours, if they are very ripe, the juice will begin to seep out naturally. Once frozen they will remain a little sticky if you touch them, so it is best to place the ice cube tray in a freezer bag to keep them clean and fresh.
As soon as you get the first symptoms of a cold or flu stick the cube in a hot mug of freshly squeezed lemon and honey and drink for its properties as an immuno-stimulant. If you also have a sore throat then suck the cube instead as it will numb your throat whilst beginning to treat it, and boost your immune system.
I will talk about the tincture in part II which will follow very shortly 😉