I grew up drinking elderberry juice (Holunder saft) in Germany in the winter time to help with my persistent coughs and colds. I hated it. My mother made it and I don’t think strained it very well and it was gritty and bitter and awful.
Fast forward 35 years and I make it myself and love it. I make it from dried elderberries this time of year when colds are lurking around every corner. Supposedly elderberry juice, extract, tinctures and capsules activate our immune system and reduce symptoms of common cold and flu. I love the taste and somehow am comforted by it even though I disliked it so as a child. I also make it with cinnamon, ginger and a little lemon and honey so the pronounced elderberry flavor is balanced out a bit. You can buy all these elderberry products but making this juice is pretty simple and much less expensive. Some stores and co-ops sell bulk dried elderberries or you can order them online.
Yields 3 pints
3/4 cup dried elderberries
1 1/2 quarts water
4-5 slices fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
2 thick slices of lemon (including peel)
1/3 cup honey
Put everything except the honey in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a gentle boil. Turn down and simmer, partially covered for 40 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes. Stir in the honey, strain the juice and pour into jars, leaving plenty of head space. Freeze 2 of the 3 jars and keep the third on in the fridge.
I add hot water to about 1/4 cup of juice and drink like tea or sip a little of the juice cold.