This site is an archive of For the latest information about Susy and her adventrures, visit the Cultivate Simple site.
Thank you for all your support over the years!

Elderberry Syrup

December 24th, 2008

Em from Dance of the Small Things asked for my Elderberry Syrup recipe back when I posted about the items I had canned as part of the Harvest Keepers Challenge. I make syrup every year and we use it for pancakes and we also stir it into tea as a sweetener. Elderberries are super healthy and great for you. Handmaiden’s Kitchen has a few posts on the benefits and how to make an elderberry tincture.

Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not.

This is my recipe for syrup. You can just make it using sugar, elderberry syrup and lemon juice if you don’t mind a runny syrup. I prefer mine to be a little thicker so I use pectin, I find it works much better on pancakes this way (doesn’t make the pancake soggy). If you plan on using this only for health benefits in tea, you probably don’t need to add pectin. I use no-sugar pectin so I can make a reduced sugar syrup, I also use organic evaporated cane juice to sweeten my syrups & jellies.
First you want to pick very ripe elderberries (I always pick as many as I can, I think this is about 10 quarts) and remove all stems (stems are poisonous so make sure to get as many as possible). Next, you’ll cook the berries down with a little water to prevent sticking. I usually barely boil mine for 30-35 minutes in a big stock pot with the lid on, every so often I crush them with a potato masher. Next let them cool a bit and press them through a sieve if desired (you can leave in the seeds if you’d like, I strain mine out). You’ll end up with elderberry juice.
I ended up with about a gallon of elderberry juice from my stock pot full of berries. At this point you can refrigerate the juice if you’d like for a day or two before you make the syrup, or you can proceed and make the syrup right away.


1. Bring boiling water canner, half-full of water, to simmer.
2. Prepare jars, lids and rims for canning.
3. Measure 10 cups of prepared juice into pan and add in 1/2 cup of lemon juice.
4. Measure 8 cups of sugar into bowl, set aside.
5. Mix 1/4 cups of sugar (from bowl that you set aside) and mix with pectin in a small bowl.
6. Stir pectin/sugar mix into fruit juice, add 1/2 teaspoon of butter to keep foam down.
7. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that can’t be stirred down), stirring constantly.
8. Stir in remaining sugar and return to a full boil and boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. (remove a small amount of syrup from pan and cool quickly on cold plate to test consistency, you want it to by syrupy but not too thick).
9. Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of top. Wipe jar rims and threads, cover with lids and place jars in elevated rack in the canner. Water must cover jars 1 or 2 inches above lids. Cover and bring water to a gentle boil. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Remove and cool on rack.
Just a note: Make sure you’re picking real elderberries and not ink berries. If you’re not sure, find someone who knows and have them help you. As with anything else, make sure you’re not allergic to something before you eat a big helping of it. Also make sure to check the seals on the jars before storing them.

What kinds of delicious syrups/jellies did you make this summer?

17 Comments to “Elderberry Syrup”
  1. Em on January 11, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Thankyou so much for this recipe! xxx

    Reply to Em's comment

  2. I like the food my MOM cans for me. on January 14, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I like the food my MOM cans for me….

    I love watching the smiles my family have when eating the foods I prepare…

    Reply to I like the food my MOM cans for me.'s comment

  3. Shreela on February 12, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Once I learned the difference between poke and elderberries last year, I collected quite a bit of elderberry stems, then used a fork to scrape the berries off the stems, and froze the berries. I was waiting until cooler weather so I wouldn’t heat up the house, but Ike hit before I could make a syrup from them. I did try saving them in the cooler, but somehow the bag got to the outside of the cooler on a day it took longer than usual to bring home ice.

    So I’ll be watching for my berries to ripen in a few months, and this time will make my syrup after collecting the berries, even if I have to do it at night, hopefully on a rainy day so the house won’t heat up too much.

    Reply to Shreela's comment

  4. jimmy on July 7, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    if you freeze the berries first, they will very easily fall off the stems – saves time & work. probably best to cook down in glass or stainless steel also.

    Reply to jimmy's comment

    • Susy on July 7, 2009 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks for the tip Jimmy! I’ll give that a shot.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Virginia on July 11, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    How much water is used to juice the berries?
    A quart? Two?

    Reply to Virginia's comment

    • Susy on July 12, 2009 at 12:36 am

      Yes, I typically use powdered pectin, just one packet, you want it to be slightly thick so it doesn’t make your pancake soggy. You could also just use a granny smith apple or two as well or some crabapples or transparent apples. I like to use tart apples or crabapples as a natural source for pectin. The problem is you just kind of have to wing it with the amounts on them. I haven’t learned the proper amounts yet (although nothing’s ever come out wrong).

      When I heat the berries I usually just add a pint of water to the bottom of the pan, you can check after they’re heating and add more if necessary, but they should produce juice when they heat up.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Virginia on July 11, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Sorry, I was so excited to see a recipe that I didn’t read it all the way before asking a question. My other question is did you use powdered pectin and was it one pack? From the way it was added in the recipe, before cooking I assumed it was powdered but I didn’t see how much. I thought if it was just a thickener you didn’t want enough for it to set like a jelly so maybe it was just one pack?

    Reply to Virginia's comment

  7. Nancy on September 4, 2009 at 10:58 am

    So glad you posted this recipe. Looks like it is going to be a great year for elderberries this year and I am going to try this.
    .-= Nancy´s last blog ..Recipe For Making Sauerkraut =-.

    Reply to Nancy's comment

  8. Leslie Paine on September 9, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    In the past I made Elderberry Jelly and added red pepper flakes to it. It came out wonderful and makes a great appetizer on a cracker with cream cheese. Now that I know how great it is for me, I will definately take a spoonful if I feel I am coming down with something! I’m sure the peppers can only help with that!

    Reply to Leslie Paine's comment

    • Susy on September 9, 2009 at 6:20 pm

      I bet the peppers would help as well. I’ll have to try that sometime, I’m a big fan of hot & sweet things.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. mike ashlock on September 17, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks for the elderberry syrup tips. Am right in the middle of about the 3rd batch of elderberries this season. We’ve got a bunch in my neck of the woods in northern california. Did some jelly but thought I’d skip the sugar proportions in the pectin info sheet. It didn’t set just like they said it wouldn’t and had to do the batch over by evaporating out some liquid by leaving it in the crock pot overnight down low with the lid off…..some of us are just too smart to obey the recipe warnings. And now that I’ve heard of the capacity to help get over the flue faster, hey, the trouble of making this stuff really seems worth it just in case someone I know gets sick. Will doctor ’em right up. Besides, it tastes so yummy with all that sugar in it. Thanks!

    Reply to mike ashlock's comment

  10. […] Elderberry Syrup recipe and image by Chiot’s Run. […]

    Reply to Harvard Farmers Market » Not Your Average Canning Jar's comment

  11. […] syrup recipe available at chiotsrun blog and image by Chiot’s […]

    Reply to Studio G – Garden Design & Landscape Design inspiration » Fall Berry Planting : Elderberries, Gooseberries, & Blackberries's comment

  12. Adrian on April 17, 2010 at 11:49 am

    How great to find this when I searched for recipes for canning fruit syrups. I made rhubarb syrup yesterday and it is so wonderful that I plan on making lots of fruit syrups when our berry bushes start producing. See you on Flickr!

    Reply to Adrian's comment

    • Susy on April 17, 2010 at 12:09 pm

      Elderberry syrup is one of our faves. We really enjoy using it to sweeten our homemade yogurt, then you get immune boosting from the yogurt and from the elderberry!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  13. Maryanne on September 12, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I just made this and it was quite easy with your directions. My 5 year old had it drizzled on greek yogurt and loved! Thank you.

    Reply to Maryanne's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

Read previous post:
Goin’ to Gramma’s

Lucy is a pretty smart dog.  She had tons of phrases she understands, like, "Want to go on a walk?",...