Tap into the amazing benefits of elderberries!
Elderberries are a tasty way to stay healthy this season. Support your immune system with these cost-effective immune-boosting elderberry recipes.
This cold season has been a doozy for our family. Our eldest entered the public school system in September, and that onslaught of new germs has meant a constant battle to fight off colds.
Mostly I’ve managed to keep them at bay, but there’s only so much you can do when a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old are sneezing in your face and using your sweater as a tissue. (We’re working on it.)
Related: Try these immune-boosting foods to help ward off that next cold.
What are the benefits of elderberries?
Scores of people swear by elderberries to help them fight colds and flu, and some studies have backed up their claims. Will elderberry concoctions keep you from ever getting sick? Probably not, but they may help you fight some off or shorten the duration and severity of those you do come down with.
You don’t have much to lose with elderberry tea — this is a tasty, inexpensive, low-waste way to enjoy the benefits of elderberries, especially if you already enjoy fruity tea.
Plus, as one of those dark blue berries, elderberries have potent antioxidants, great anti-inflammatory properties that help fight oxidative damage linked to cancer risk and aging. You can also forage blackberries and mulberries and try them in these mulberry recipes.
How to Tap into the Benefits of Elderberries: Easy Elderberry Tea
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You can buy elderberries in the bulk section of many natural foods stores, and when you bring your own container, you eliminate virtually all the waste from your tea habit.
You can also buy elderberries by the pound online, which will last your family a very long time. Either way, you get to skip all the bags, and cup for cup this is a lot cheaper than most herbal teas.
Making the tea is simple: just add a teaspoon of berries to one cup of hot water and steep. I like mine plain, but my kids prefer it sweet, so we add honey to theirs when they have the sniffles.
I keep a tea mug with a built-infuser handy for brewing multiple cups of elderberry tea from a couple teaspoons of berries (you can rebrew till it’s too weak to bother with).
I try to sip some whenever I feel like my body’s trying to fight something off. Christina at The Hippy Homemaker ups the immune-boosting ante of her tea with a bunch more herbs thought to help immunity. Try her recipe here. Or check out this delicious immune boosting herbal tea blend from These Lovely Acres.
Related: Benefits of Hibiscus Tea, a Delicious Herb to Brew!
Other ways to get the benefits of elderberries into your cold-fighting routine:
Elderberry Syrup & Gummies
You can buy pre-made syrup or make your own from the bulk elderberries mentioned above. This will save you quite a bit of money, especially if you take it often.
This DIY elderberry syrup from Chrystal from Happy Mothering or this extra-immune-boosting homemade elderberry syrup plus recipe from Brittany at The Pistachio Project will save you big on elderberry syrup. (Brilliant resource-saving idea: Brittany recommends reusing elderberries to make elderberry tea).
Susan at Learning and Yearning knows how to supercharge your elderberry syrup with other immne-boosting ingredients.
Chrystal has also developed an elderberry gummy for her kids. We’ve made them a bunch, and kids and grown-ups alike think they’re a really way tasty way to stay healthy!
Related: How to Fight a Cold with Kitchen Remedies
Elderberry-zinc & other elderberry supplements
Elderberry is also sold in capsule form. I prefer to go the food route, but everyone’s different. Get the benefits of elderberries however works best for you!
Enjoy the Benefits of Elderberries by Growing Your OwnIf you have some space in your yard, you could even grow your own elderberrries. They’re beautiful and cold-hardy and will add edibles to your landscape, always a plus if you’re on a mission to live greener. And of course growing your own will save you money and connect you to your food. (Just be sure to follow guidelines about safe handling of elderberries, which need to be cooked prior to consumption.)
Want to know more about sneaking elderberries and other delicious edibles into your landscape? Angela England has great ideas for you in her new book, Gardening Like A Ninja.
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Photo credits: 127071 , HealthyGreenSavvy, Happy Mothering, John McLinden, RitaE