Thursday, September 25, 2014

Make an Elderberry Oxymel and an Immune Boosting Herbal Soda


Our latest adventure with the infamous elderberry had us preparing an elderberry oxymel. What is an oxymel you might ask? It is simply a sweet and sour herbal mixture (apple cider vinegar with raw honey in this case) designed to make the not-so-tasty into something medicinally delicious. It was commonly used as a cough and/or sore throat medicine in the days of old (and it still can be!).


A great way to beat the heat while building up your immune system is to make a refreshing herbal soda with your oxymel. This is especially a treat for us since we don't purchase soft drinks. Rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, B6, it is an ideal beverage to bridge the gap between summer and autumn, to begin boosting that immune system while quenching your thirst in the last of the summer's heat. 

"Elder flowers and berries have a long history of use for alleviating the symptoms of cold and flu, in particular fever and congestion of the nose and sinuses... Laboratory studies suggest that constituents in the berries may activate certain immune cells and act directly on viruses to reduce their infectivity."


In order to prepare the sweet soda, we must first make the easy oxymel:

1. Fill a clean jar 1/4 of the way with dried elderberries (if using fresh berries, fill jar half way).

2. Add warmed apple cider vinegar up to the half way point on jar (If you are using fresh berries, warming the vinegar may not be necessary). For the healthiest oxymel, use raw apple cider vinegar which boasts many medicinal benefits.

3. Fill the remaining jar space with raw honey (it is okay if your honey is thick, it will eventually dissolve into a nice syrup as you shake it) and cover.  If you have a metal cap, I recommend placing a plastic layer under the lid so it doesn't corrode.

4. Store this mixture in a cool, dark area (like your pantry) for 2 - 4 weeks. Shake often to infuse the flavors and dissolve the honey (like once a day or so if you remember).


When the allotted time is completed, strain your oxymel and store it in a clean glass bottle or jar. We were impatient and waited 2 weeks and still had a nice strong flavor. This syrup should keep for six months in your pantry (and longer if stored in the refrigerator).

Don't discard your precious, strained elderberries (especially if you paid for the dried elderberries like we did)! Boil some water and prepare a large batch of hot or iced tea with them. This will be another healthy drink for your family. I am freezing my leftover strained pieces in order to make a "scrap" syrup {see frugal recipe here}. For our complete collection of DIY elderberry recipes, visit here!


Homemaking Hint:

I suggest starting off with a pint-sized jar for your first oxymel so that you can perfect your ratio. If you want a sweeter oxymel, you can add more honey into your next batch, if you want a more tart oxymel, you can add more vinegar. Once you have your desired proportions, make larger batches. 


To prepare the herbal soda, we like to place 2 teaspoons of the elderberry oxymel into an 8 oz. glass of iced, sparkling water. However, I encourage you to create your own concoctions! 


Suggested Usage and Dosage:

Of course, your oxymel can also be taken by the spoonful or with a glass of warm water or anything else your taste-buds can recommend (like enhancing a salad dressing, etc.).

The Mountain Rose Blog suggested that "at regular health a spoonful a day would be supportive however, if you are in the middle of a cough you could take a spoonful as often as every hour for soothing support".

I would personally begin administering any form of elderberry medicine at the first signs of illness in our family (such as the flu, cough or cold). You may also be interested in making "elderberry infused herbal honey".



Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. While I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and remedies I use, remember that using remedies is a personal decision. Nothing I say on this blog is approved by the FDA or intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. All things on this blog are my opinion or the opinion of others.

18 comments:

  1. This is great! I just made an elderberry elixir for a daily preventative. I will be trying this recipe too. Thank you for sharing this!

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    1. Sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing! This is an easy, no fail project... Hope you like it ;)

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  2. We've already felt the ills of the approaching cold and flu season here in Tennessee. Goodman is home from work this week with a bad cold and deep cough so I'm giving him all the elderberry syrup he will take. Your oxymel sounds great, too - I need to order more berries. I love options and making different concoctions. Thank you for sharing this healthy drink recipe!
    p.s. I'm straining the Elderberry Infused Herbal Honey as I type. Thanks again for that recipe, too!

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    1. You may be able to infuse those berries (if they were dried) one more time to make this oxymel. Warming the cider first may be able to extract just a bit more out of those berries! Hope you feel better soon!!!

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    2. Yay, I won't have to wait until more berries arrive. They were dried, and when I saw you suggested it, I did just that. The oxymel is mixed together and already "makin'". And there is already plenty of color from those berries. The mixture smells really good, too. So, Goodman and I are looking forward to trying your herbal soda sooner than I expected.
      Thanks again for another fun recipe!

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  3. That sounds delicious mixed in with the sparkling water.

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  4. Very interesting! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams, starts on Fridays :D Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.

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  5. This elderberry elixir looks and sounds refreshingly uplifting. I always learn so much visiting your beautiful blog, Jes! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week!

    Poppy

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  6. I'm very excited to try this, as well as your elderberry honey! I'll even have my very first batch of homemade apple cider vinegar ready to use in it in just a few days. I've been meaning to try these things for years, but was always so busy with work in the fall that I never got around to it. This is my first year as a stay home mom and I'm loving how much time I have to do all the things I want for my family :-) Thank you for sharing your recipes!

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    1. How fun that you get to be home now! Thank you for taking the time to share here today :)

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  7. This sounds delicious! I have a bunch of Elderberries that I foraged and am needing ideas of what to do with them. I'm also working on an Elderberry post right now, do you mind if I link your recipe to it?

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    1. Of course not! :) Also, we are starting an herb series and elderberry will be one of the first herbs we showcase. We will also do an ELDERBERRY link up so you can share your projects with us too :) Have a lovely week!

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  8. JES if nothing else, I love how this LOOKS! I'm not sure we can find elderberries in Australia, but I'll be trying all the same. This would be gorgeous I think. Mimi xxx

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    1. It is a beautiful color and elderberries are excellent for you (so much research to support it also). I do hope you can find some!

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  9. This looks wonderful! Do you have to have honey in the recipe? Could stevia be added after it has sat for 2-4 weeks? My hubby was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and I have been replacing honey/sucanet with stevia.

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    1. I am sure it could work without it (it would be like a tincture made with apple cider vinegar) however, the honey does have some medicinal benefits that would be lost. Also, not sure of the taste with the stevia but it is worth a try! Let me know how it works out!! :)

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