It’s been a bumper crop of elderberries again this year! If you’re interested in foraging them or need other tips for using them, see my post Foraging for Elderberries.
I have wine brewing, I’m tincturing some to use medicinally, and I’m making elderberry liqueur to serve as a special Christmas treat.
Elderberry Tincture or Elderberry Liqueur?
Actually, tinctures and liqueurs start out in the exact same manner. Vodka is poured over the elderberries which are then left to sit in a cool, dark place for several weeks.
To extract the medicinal qualities of elderberry, use a vodka that is at least 80 proof. 100 proof is even better.
Traditionally, elderberry has been used to strengthen the immune system and to fight flu. Modern science is beginning to prove that elderberry is indeed powerful medicine.
After extracting the delicious flavor of the elderberry, sugar may be added to create a a liqueur, a wonderful after dinner treat. Lemon rind is often added with the elderberries at the beginning of the process, but is optional.
Be sure to also visit my post Natural Home Remedies for Your Medicine Cabinet.
Elderberry Tincture or Liqueur
- elderberries fresh or dried
- vodka 80 proof or higher
- lemon peel without the pith optional
- organic sugar
- You may use any amount of elderberries to make a large batch or small. 2 cups is a good place to start.
- Place 2 cups of fresh or 1 cup of dried elderberries in a quart mason jar.
- Lemon peel is often used in a liqueur but will add medicinal components to a tincture as well. Use a potato peeler to peel an approximately 1" by 3" strip of lemon peel. It's easiest to peel from a whole lemon, rather than one that has been cut. Be sure not to use any of the white part of the peel, which will make your final product bitter. Add the peel to the elderberries in the jar.
- Cover the berries with vodka. If using dried berries, you may have to add more vodka once the berries rehydrate. Place the lid on the jar, and store in a cool, dark place for 1 - 6 months.
- For a medicinal tincture, strain the berries and lemon peel from the vodka. Store the tincture in a dark spot, or in a dark colored jar. The adult dosage is 20 drops 3 times a day in a glass of water at first sign of cold or flu.
- For a liqueur, strain the berries and lemon peel from the vodka.
- Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of organic sugar. Stir. Place back in your dark spot for another week or two, at which time your liqueur will be ready to enjoy.
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