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Elderberry Syrup Recipe


I have made elderberry syrup around this time of year for nearly a decade, over the years I have tweaked the recipe to my liking, making it slightly sweeter in recent years to suit the taste of the little people in my life too. You also can play around with the recipe adding some things or taking out others, you don’t have to use cloves and cinnamon but I add it for flavour and medicinal value.

Before I start, I want to make an important warning… the stem of the elderberry and the leaves are both toxic when raw DO NOT be tempted to eat any! It can cause sickness and a very sore tummy. Rest assured that when you have cooked the berries they lose all toxicity, and here you cook the berries and the juice twice so you really are safe!

To pick the berries I usually snip or pull berry laden frongs and to release the berry I run the stalks between the spaces in a dinner fork, the fork will comb the stalk and pull the berries off at the same time, making for a less messy, much less frustrating start to the task at hand, comb all of the berries into a dish, fill the dish with water and add a pinch of pink or sea salt, leave for a couple of minutes and then rinse in fresh water and strain.

Top Tips – Use metal utensils not wooden ones, and I highly recommend you use an apron, elderberry juice stains very badly!

Now for the fun stuff!


Elderberries I usually pick a large mixing bowl/saucepan size amount (with storks attached)

2 x lemons/oranges (or one of each)

Unrefined or brown sugar (such as demerara)

Cloves and cinnamon (if you wish)

Funnel, saucepan, jug, scales and clean glass bottles and tops (click here to find out how to sterilise – this is IMPORTANT)


  • Put your berries in a large stainless steel pan, fill the pan with water that is half of the volume of the berries you are using in your recipe, simmer for 15/20 minutes. It is important that you don’t boil the berries as this will lose some of their goodness.
  • As they start to soften, while simmering give the berries a mash with a fork or potato masher, this will help to release the berry juices.
  • Once your berries have been simmering for 15-20 minutes pour them over a fine mesh metal sieve into a bowl, allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes to allow all of the liquid to drip out of the berry pulp. (Use a metal spoon to push down on the berries which will ensure as much water and juice is pressed out of the berries as possible)
  • Now its time to sweeten things up. Measure the amount of liquid you have in a jug, I add 250g of sugar per 500ml if liquid, you can also add 3 slices of lemon and orange, 2 or 3 cloves and 1/2 to one stick of cinnamon.
  • Mix it all together in a metal saucepan.
  • Put back on to simmer for 20 minutes before passing back through a metal sieve again to remove the fruit and spices.
  • Using a funnel, pour into a sterilised glass bottle, store in the fridge or in a cool dark place away from sunlight.

When you are feeling run down take a desert spoonful either straight like medicine, or diluted in warm water as a nice drink with a little honey for added sweetness if needed. My kids love it drizzled over anything and everything…yoghurt, porridge or even popcorn!


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