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If you or your kids dislike the taste of straight elderberry (or just want to get creative in the kitchen), this article gives you different uses for elderberry syrup to incorporate it into other, more inspiring forms. Some forms even extend the shelf life of your elderberry syrup, which is a bonus.
Personally, I don’t mind drinking a tablespoon of straight elderberry syrup, because the amount is so little. However, kids can be pickier. My kids used to love the taste of elderberry syrup and would beg for more at a time, but now only one of them seems to love it.
However, all of the kids are way more excited about consuming elderberry syrup in other forms. So, if you have a kid that otherwise shies away from taking elderberry as a preventative measure or when sick, below are some uses for elderberry syrup that may spark their interest.
If you haven’t made your own homemade elderberry syrup yet, see our Easy, Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe.
What is Elderberry Syrup?
Elderberry syrup is made from a base of water, fresh or dried elderberries, and honey (or an alternative sweetener).
The second is to extract antioxidants and other beneficial compounds and nutrients from the elderberries into the syrup. Because you discard the berries after boiling them, you want to ensure the water contains as much of the beneficial compounds as possible.
Aside from these three base ingredients, recipes may include other ingredients for added benefits. For instance, our Easy, Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe incorporates other, immunity-boosting or antimicrobial ingredients.
Why You Should Consume Elderberry Syrup?
Elderberries’ claim to fame in the health world is their anti-viral properties. Thus, one of the most common uses for elderberry syrup is for medicinal purposes. Most studies have focused on elderberries’ activities against the flu virus or common cold.
However, studies have also documented elderberries’ ability to inhibit other viruses, like infection bronchitis virus.
Studies show how elderberries prevent viruses from multiplying in your body, help your body’s immune cells communicate with each other, and improve respiratory symptoms.
Aside from their anti-viral and antimicrobial properties, elderberries also provide various vitamins and minerals.
Thus, overall, taking elderberry syrup regularly during cold and flu season can help keep you healthy. You can even take elderberry syrup year-round to keep your immune system up.
3 Savvy Uses for Elderberry Syrup
Without further ado, here are 3 saavy uses for elderberry syrup, whether you’re itching to try other forms or have pickier eaters who don’t like straight elderberry syrup.
#1: Elderberry Pops
As basic as it seems, my kids are always excited about popsicles.
Just remember that with elderberry syrup, you want to limit the daily quantities. I normally give my kids 1 tbsp. of elderberry syrup a day when they’re not sick, so only give my kids up to 1 tbsp of elderberry syrup a day when they’re not sick (more if they’re sick), then I limit the frozen quantity to the same.
This means either using smaller quantities or molds than regular popsicle molds, or mixing the elderberry syrup with other liquids to form a larger popsicle. For instance, I sometimes make green smoothie or yogurt pops, so would mix in elderberry syrup.
If you don’t want to mix the elderberry syrup with other liquids to make regular popsicles, then you can just freeze the elderberry syrup in molds alone. You can use gummy molds like this one or just partially fill up larger ice trays like this one. Silicone molds work best to easily pop the frozen pieces out.
Just put your filled molds into the freezer and wait for them to fully freeze through.
#2: Elderberry Gummies
Remember that heat can kill the antioxidants and enzymes in raw honey. Thus, if your elderberry syrup contains raw honey, the heated water used in making elderberry gummies can kill some of these beneficial compounds.
However, I do attempt to minimize the heat exposure by not heating the elderberry syrup directly.
The added benefit of elderberry gummies is that they use gelatin, which has its own health and nutritional benefits. For instance, gelatin may help regulate blood sugar, and contribute to bone strength, hair health, and sleep quality.
Thus, I never mind making gummies for my kids, so long as they’re not teeming with sugar or consumed excessively.
- Pour the cold water into a saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin across the top to try to space out the granules. Stir and allow this mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, or just until the gelatin “blooms” (i.e. becomes fully hydrated).
- Heat the water/gelatin mixture on the stove until it is hot, but NOT BOILING, then turn off the stove. Mix to try to dissolve all the gelatin. You may have a couple of clumps that won’t dissipate.
- Once the gelatin is dissolved, pour in the elderberry syrup and quickly stir the mixture together.
- Transfer the liquid into your gelatin molds as quickly as you can, and then put in the fridge to set.
- Once the gummies are fully firm and set, remove the gummies and store in a closed container in the fridge.
- Silicone molds work best to be able to easily pop your gummies out after they cool. My kids like this variety pack of silicone molds, which comes with droppers for them to fill each shape.
- In determining how many gummies your kids should eat, it depends on the size of the gummy molds. Also, remember that the quantity of elderberry syrup in each gummy is half diluted with water.
#3: As a Syrup Topping or Additive
You can use elderberry syrup to supplement your normal syrup or toppings for foods like pancakes and waffles. You can also mix it into plain yogurt as a sweetener and flavoring agent.
Because elderberry syrup can be really sweet, and it’s medicinal properties call for limitations in the quantity consumed, you should only use it in a small quantity or to supplement your regular syrup. For instance, you can mix a little in with your maple syrup for pancakes.
If you mix it into plain yogurt, you can get the added benefits of yogurt in your diet. Elderberry syrup is sweet and flavorful enough that you may not need anything else to sweeten your yogurt.
You can also basically add elderberry syrup to most of the recipes in our article, 5 Guilt-Free, Healthy Kids Snacks for Picky Eaters – with Yogurt!.
What Dosage of Elderberry Should You Take?
When figuring out how much of any of the above items you or your family should consume, it’s safest to go off of regular dosages (see below). Just remember you can have larger quantities if you diluted the elderberry syrup with other ingredients in any of the above uses for elderberry syrup.
When taking elderberry syrup on a preventative basis, my kids and I take 1 tbsp. a day. (I give 1 tsp. to any kids under 6 years old.)
For kids under 1 year old: Because honey is not recommended for kids under 1 year old, you should either make a version without honey or not give elderberry syrup.
If anyone is already sick, then I administer the above dosages three times a day.
Keep in mind that elderberry syrup may contain ingredients that counteract with certain medications or medical conditions. Thus, if you are on medication or have any medical condition, you should consult with a healthcare professional to ensure you can safely consume the ingredients in your elderberry syrup.
Please comment below on your favorite uses for elderberry syrup. Also, please share with anyone who is less familiar with elderberry syrup, because sharing is caring!