How to make an elderberry tincture – Winter is coming

This week’s post is brought to you by my body saying “HEEL” and keeping me at home today for extra rest to recover from throat troubles and feeling like I could get very ill. Sometimes it does not matter how much care we take of ourselves and how many preventative measures we take, sometimes we get ill. I have come to look at these times as an opportunity for rest and an oasis of slow in a fast-paced world.

This does not mean that my preventative measures have been for nothing, either. They mean I tend to recover quickly from illness and have become less susceptible to what’s in the atmosphere. It also means that my plans for preparation have even more reason to continue. If spending my weekends making more broth and preparing remedies like this tincture I am going to share result in less illness, then it is time well spent.

Inspired by seeing recipes at Frugally Sustainable and Vicariously Vintage, I purchased some strong vodka and dried elderberries to make a tincture. In previous years I have purchased bottles of elderberry tincture at my local natural foods shop and spent around $15 for each 8 oz. bottle. For a little more than $20, I got enough ingredients to make more than twice that amount in my own kitchen. Plus it gives me another opportunity to connect with my ancestral culture. Elderberry and elderflower are a common ingredient in foods in Scandinavia. If you have shopped at Ikea in the food section you have likely seen elderflower drink for sale.

The key to this is time. If you are someone who is prone to respiratory illnesses, make some of this now! It will be ready when winter is just starting. You can also make it up as a Yuletide gift for someone whose health may need an extra boost.

I have also seen one anecdote of using elderberries as an antiviral remedy. Given it may boost the overall immune system, this makes sense.

Elderberry tincture
You will need:
Dried or fresh elderberries
Water (only if using dried berries)
100 proof vodka (most commercial brands are not as strong, make sure you check the labels!)
Quart mason jar

Do this:
1. Fill jar 1/3 full with berries. If the berries are dried, cover with (ideally filtered) water

2. Fill the jar to the quart mark with vodka.

3. Cover and shake.

4. Store in a cool dark place for 3 months. Shake twice a day. I have a post-it note over the oven to remind me to shake it.

5. If you like, date the tincture with the day you made it.

6. Three months from original making date: Strain the berries from the liquid using cheesecloth. Make certain to squeeze the liquid out of the berries. Store in an airtight container, and will keep for up to two years.

Dose, from Frugally Sustainable’s post:
“Use: For adults and older children: Administer 1-2 tablespoons daily for prevention and up to 4 times daily at the first show of cold/flu symptoms. May be administered in a cup of hot warm, sweetened to taste for a more palatable route.”

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed medical practitioner and this post should not serve in lieu of advice of such a person. I provide this post for informational purposes only.

Be well everyone!

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I’m sharing this post at Sunday School, Monday Mania, Make your own Monday, Traditional Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Simple Lives Thursday, Small Footprint Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, and Fight Back Friday!


12 responses to “How to make an elderberry tincture – Winter is coming

  1. I really like using elderberry syrup during cold and flu season. I use it to sweeten my cup of tea each morning. All the protection of the elderberry tincture with a great taste. In Scandinavian countries it’s also used as a pancake topping. I did a post on my blog earlier this year about how I make it. Just click on my name and it should take you straight to the post if you’re interested.

    • oh that does sound like a good addition to tea. I might have to try making up some myself when it gets a little cooler here.

  2. This sounds like a nice thing to have. Do you have any uses for the elderberries after straining them out rather than just discarding them?

    • at best I would say you might be able to put them in the compost heap, but I don’t know what the alcohol would do do the decomposition. Otherwise, not much.

  3. I’ve often made elderberry syrup, just by simmering the dried berries in water till it’s thick, and adding honey to help it keep longer in the fridge. Is the main point of this method the long preservation/shelf-stability?

  4. I made a similar recipe (also with vodka) about two years ago. I’m still using it. Elderberry is a wonder medicine for winter ailments. I love it.

  5. Last year I made some with ACV but I’m going to try a batch this way! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Thank for this interesting post, I love elderberry and I can’t wait to try it in …a soap :).

  7. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! 🙂

  8. Pingback: A Top 12 for 2012 | I Believe In Butter

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