Monday, October 22, 2012

Elderberry Extract

About 6 weeks ago I started a batch of my very first elderberry extract. Today I finished straining it off. I cheated a little and used some already last week because James started getting sick and I didn't WANT to get sick, so we scooped a little out and used it. I am in love with this stuff! Last year I bought some at the health food store for about $15 for 8 oz. I wasn't nearly as impressed with that stuff. 

James got over his cold super fast despite little sleep and unhealthy eating because of company over. I never did get sick. This stuff is potent! And so very easy to make...and so much cheaper than store bought. Shall I go on? :)

Dried Elderberries

I have two versions that I tried. 

Recipe #1:

4 oz dried elderberries
2 cups vodka

Mix together in a glass mason jar and close lid tightly. Sit in a cupboard (cool dark place) for about 6-8 weeks. Shake occasionally. When you are ready, strain off the berries, put in a clean jar and store in a cool dark location. 

Soaking elderberries

Recipe #2:

4 oz dried elderberries
1 cup vegetable glycerin
1 cup purified water

Directions are the same. 

Straining the berries off into a pint jar.

Now here is the rough breakdown for prices:

Recipe #1:

Vodka=$4.50/16 oz (Honestly I can't really remember how much the vodka was...somewhere around here, though.)

Elderberries=4.50/4 oz

Total per ounce: $0.75

Recipe #2:


Vegetable Glycerin $4.25

Elderberries $4.50/4 oz

Total per ounce: $0.72

And like I said the store you will find the good brands of Elderberry extract costing you about $15 per bottle. 

That breakdown is:

Elderberry extract=$15.00/8 oz

Total per ounce: $1.88/oz

So already you are saving a bunch of money by making your own. BUT...after looking some more I found a place where you can buy elderberries for about half the price of what I paid. Awesome! 

Back to my homemade stuff...

I would definitely recommend drinking this stuff in a glass of water otherwise it's pretty nasty. The vodka one tastes strong (not really like alcohol since that gets soaked up by the berries, but just potent) and the glycerin one is super sweet. But in water neither one really has much of a taste.

As far as which one to probably depends on whether or not you are giving this to kids! I don't know as if I personally have a preference. I think next time I will most likely make it with vodka again just so I don't have to order online. 

Dosage wise, I'm not honestly sure! When James was sick I gave him a tablespoon in a glass of water every few hours. I did the same to stay healthy. That was definitely plenty. For kids I would do way less. Maybe a teaspoon? Today I had a little tickle in my throat and did just a teaspoon in water and it went away immediately. I guess I'd say just use your best judgement! 

Now get going! Cold season is here and you will definitely want to have this stuff on hand!

If you want to read more about the health benefits of elderberries, click here


In order to protect myself from people who might take any information I have written out of context or use it in any way I do not intend...I must say the following: I am NOT a doctor. I take no responsibility for what you do or not do with any information I have written. My opinions and writings should not take the place of a  doctor...consult one of those if you need medical advice. Pretty much...please use common sense and I strongly suggest you do your own research as well. It's empowering!


  1. Another question about this -- do you know if it can be made using fresh elderberries?

  2. Sure! I would just use about twice the amount of elderberries...that's that's the general rule of thumb for dried versus fresh. Did you get more than you thought off your bush??

  3. Unfortunately, no, it was a very sad harvest. But someone else who has elderberries said the same thing. Many of the berries just didn't set on. Hopefully it is just after-effects still from last year's drought. Hoping for a better crop next year!


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