I have been busy this last weekend making tinctures to press off in the tincture class on the 8th of October.
I got a little carried away with Elderberries, making 3 tinctures each using different alcohol. One with brandy 37.1%, one with vodka 37.5%, and one with 92.7% Ethanol (neutral spirit). I used dried berries from Sambuccus nigra, I used these as the plant is very slow growing here in SEQld unlike its American cousin Sambuccus canadensis, which grows a little too well suckering up through the garden. It is flowering beautifully at the moment - I must make some elderflower champagne.
With calculations done to discover the amount of water to add to give me an alcohol percentage of 25%, I pounded the berries in my mortar and pestle before putting into glass amber jars with wide necks and filling with the alcohol/water mix, a good shake and off to the shelf in my laundry. These will need to be given a shake every day, before being pressed off in 2 weeks time.
I also made a tincture of elderberries with vinegar, it will be interesting to taste the different tinctures, I have a feeling I might like the brandy one the best.
Tinctures done, I still had 200g of elderberries left, these I made into sweet syrup.
I put these into a saucepan with 400ml of pure water, brought them to the boil and simmered for 20min. I then strained it through a sieve and ended up with around 250ml of liquid.
To this I added 1 cup of sugar and brought it up to the boil. I then took the mix of the heat and poured it into sterilised glass bottles.
So all this Elderberry medicine, how shall I use it - Elderberry is extremely useful for fighting the flu. It contains compounds that keep the flu virus from attaching to the cell, so it can shorten the duration of your illness and possibly lesson the severity. Elderberries are also a good source of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants which are responsible for giving many red and purple fruits their colour.
And it tastes pretty good as well!