It’s autumn (finally) and in the north of England, elderberries are glistening like jewels in the hedgerows. Especially if you can pick them straight from a tree (free) and considering all their benefits, these wonderful berries should be put to good use.
Elderberries are excellent sources of vitamins A, B and C. They are credited for helping to combat colds, flu, nasal and chest congestion, as well as hay fever. Elderberries also contain flavonoids, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center, which have antioxidant properties and may help prevent damage to the body’s cells — adding the important caveat that few studies have been done in humans, so researchers don't know how effective elderberry may be.
The University of Maryland Medical Center cautions that berries must be cooked before they are consumed, because raw berries contain a chemical similar to cyanide. Because of their mild flavor, this berry is ideal for making jam or cordial.
Here’s mine: Five bottles of cordial and a jug containing elderberries infusing in vodka!
Be inventive! Cordial doesn’t just have to be added to water. It works equally well or better in sparkling water or as an addition to your Christmas fizz. You can even pour into an ice cube tray and add the cubes to your vodka or gin!
As long as your cordial is kept in a cold place it should keep for up to 12 months.
Den (Denise) Forster works for a construction company in York, U.K. Has a teenaged son, Adam. Married since 1993 to Mark. Has a cat called Lily who is eight. Enjoys music of all types and was a Leeds Goth in the 1980s. Is an accomplished knitter who is always up for a challenge!