Saturday, August 21, 2010

Elderberry Jelly and Syrup

I don't know if using elderberrries is something our mother brought from her childhood or learned from a friend or just found out about on her own. I wish I did know... Picking elderberries with my sisters and our mother is a bright childhood memory for me. Near where we lived in Northern Illinois there were bushes and bushes of elderberries growing wild alongside country roads. As a mother now, elderberry jelly and syrup are not necessitates for our family. We get plenty of produce from Papa's farm and other places to keep us busy and fill our shelves with jars of produce. Elderberry processing is time consuming and can be messy, ie purple berry juice everywhere, especially when you have the children help. Having grown up on elderberry jelly, which for some, can be an acquired taste, I have successfully converted my husband and most of the children to appreciate this wonderful flavor. :D It is great on toast, in a PB&J, and the syrup is great on pancakes. I personally love it on blueberry pancakes. As a diabetic, I make our version of a German pancake(lots of egg, little flour), add a ton of fresh blueberries to the pancake, and just a teaspoon of the syrup when I put the pancake on a plate. Soooo good and my blood sugar doesn't spike. Even a small bowl of the healthiest-bran filled-so healthy it doesn't even taste good-cold cereal spikes my blood sugar. So this is definitely a happy breakfast for me! In searching for different recipes for these berries I am finding that they have some natural benefits for our bodies. I knew they were full of vitamin C and potassium but there are other benefits including but not limited to helping one to overcome the flu more quickly... I don't think I am a skeptical person, but having 'learned' a few things on the internet that have been later proven untrue, I am cautious. I think the following article is interesting. It mentions research done at Austria's University of Graz, and an experiment showing that elderberry concentrate reduces stress.

An interesting article about the health benefits of the elderberry.

S0me photos destemming, crushing, and juicing out the berries.

Purple hands and stained cheesecloth. We are getting close to having jelly!

I just use the sure-gel recipe. 3 cups strained juice, 4.5 Cups sugar, .25 cup lemon juice, and 1 box Sure-gel. I don't use the butter. Whenever I make jelly I just spoon the foam off into a small bowl and the kids(mom and dad too), use it on homemade bread or toast. YUM! We fill the jars and process them for the appropriate time. I usually use double batches-not everyone is sucessful doing this but I haven't had a problem. This year I am experimenting with the syrup recipe. I did one triple batch and two double batches omitted the sure-gel, put the sugar in first, and added one bag of Certo to each-at the appropriate time for using Certo. (I needed to use it up and thought it might thicken the syrup just enough. We'll see how it turns out when the jars are cool.)

1 comment:

Lisa R said...

I think I have had Elderberry syrup once. Looks like it is quite messy but still tradition!