New on this page and want to know a bit more about me? Read how Active and Creative came together while I cycled the world for 5 years. The mind wanted Beauty and Usefulness. These 4 are combined in the pouches I embroider.

Would you like to find out more about beautifying life? I sell my handmade -not one is the same- embroidered zipper pouches and drawstring pouches and slip-in pouches


Elderberries makes a faded purple, blue hue on cotton fabrics.

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Besides the elder blossom syrup there are the berries, which are ready to harvest some time after the blossom (before/around August). I was inspired by a recipe which I found at loveandoliveoil.com. In my second season of foraging I returned to preparing this syrup as it is good, and even gets better when it accidentally ferment.

Super food status

I am always a bit wondering about what is being said online about properties of natural findings as I expect to consume lots before it takes effect. But I like the fact that nature provides and that with some effort it is easy enough to make yourself some tasty and, no doubt, healthy supplement.

On its own, the tree is known to be highly toxic. Elder, or Sambucus, have long been known as very beneficial plants to have in your garden. They are an excellent permaculture forest garden plant. The flowers, berries, leaves, stems, and branches all have uses in the home, kitchen, apothecary or garden. The syrup isn’t solely an extract all on its own, usually it’s made from a base of a concentrated juice harvested from fresh berries, with cane sugar or fructose as a sweetener or with lemon juice or glycerin as well as other preserves.

Elderberries truly are a super-food

They are low in calories but rich in nutrients. The berries can boost immunity to decrease the length and severity of cold and flu symptoms. They contain several minerals as well as dietary fiber, fat, and proteins. Drinking elderberry (tea) regularly may also help to lower your blood sugar by stimulating glucose metabolism.

Just ‘one cup of berries’ contains about 40% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It’s also a great source of antioxidants – which may protect your cells from damage and help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Since elderberry contains many B vitamins including: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, as well as iron and magnesium, these vitamins play a significant role in boosting mood and providing energy. Elderberries are loaded with vitamin A, which is shown to regulate immune response, and flavonoids, a chemical found in plants, including anthocyanins, which give them their signature dark purple color. These antioxidants offer immune and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Ingredients:

  • 500 gram fresh or frozen elderberries, or 250 gram dried elderberries, cleaned and stems removed.
  • 700 ml filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons honey or 75 ml sugar (or however much you like)
  • 60 ml lemon juice
  • 1 small piece fresh ginger, peeled (or omit)
  • Place the berries in a large, heavy saucepan along with water. Cover and bring to a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, mashing berries with a potato masher until they soften and release their juices.

  • Press berries through a food mill or fine mesh sieve. Discard solids. Strain juice a second time through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth to remove any remaining solids. You should have about 700 ml of juice.

  • Pour prepared juice into a saucepan along with honey, lemon juice, and ginger. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrup has thickened slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard ginger. Once cooled, syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

  • If you will be canning the syrup, while the berries are cooking, fill a large stock pot or canning pot 2/3 full with water; place a rack or folded towel in the bottom and place over medium-high heat. Wash your jars and submerge in water bath as it heats. The pot should be just about boiling by the time the syrup is reduced and ready to go. Keep jars in hot (not boiling) water until ready to use.

  • Spoon hot syrup into sterilized jars, leaving a bit less than 5 mm of head space. Wipe jar rims and screw on lids. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes (I use approximately 100 ml jars), then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. A jar not sealed well should be refrigerated and used within 2 weeks.

Dyeing with elderberry

I embroider and since being new to the old-fashioned ‘house wife’ I thought coasters would come in handy into any household. If you think so too, have look at Coaster Catpaw, hand-dyed with elderberry.


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Posts about natural dyeing, my outdoor activities, searching and multiple usage of plants and roots.


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