Elderberry is the fruit of the flowering plant known as Sambucus. In common language, it is referred to as elder or elderflower. Its full scientific name is Sambucus nigra.
Elderberries are found more in Europe and North America (although some species are grown in Australia too).
Colour-wise, elderberries are black or very dark blue. And flavour wise, they are sweet-n-sharp. This makes them the go-to item for syrups, jams, jellies, desserts, spreads, and as “base” for beverages and cocktails.
Elderberry wine? Might sound new (and news) to you, but it is very popular. Did you ever try it?
Nutritional Values of Elderberries?
Elderberries are a nutritious bunch. Here is the breakdown:
- Minerals (Iron, Potassium, Phosphorus, Copper)
- Vitamins (Vit A, B, C)
- Dietary Fiber
Ever expected elderberry to be so power-packed?
Wait a minute. It also has organic compounds which function in the body as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents.
Here is the List of Elderberry Benefits:
How effective is elderberry?
To give you an example – In 1995, Elderberry juice came of massive use in treating a flu epidemic in Panama. This is just the start-up to how beneficial elderberry has been since ages.
1. Immunity Booster
What makes Elderberry an immunity-boosting ingredient? The high and dense concentration of Vit C, flavonoids, anthocyanins and other powerful antioxidants.
2. Cancer Prevention
Because it is rich in anti-oxidants, elderberries prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Not only this, but the antioxidants also fight the free radicals which can prove to be cancerous.
3. Regulate Body’s Cholesterol Level
The extract of elderberry has cynidine glucosides. It’s a substance which reduces the level of bad LDL cholesterol in the human body.
4. Healthy, Youthful Skin:
Expect radiant skin for a longer period thanks to the anti-ageing and free-radical fighting properties of elderberry.
5. Robust Eyes; Lasting Vision
While carrots have been used to enhance eyesight and vision for centuries, elderberry is also a good substitute. It has Vit A and Vit B6, which prevent ailments of the eye such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, thereby getting you a lasting vision.
6. Digestive Health
Elderberries are packed with dietary fibre. So you can expect a full stop to constipation, gas and full marks on the boosting of gastro-intestinal duties.
7. Cardiovascular Protection:
Elderberries have high levels of potassium which aim to protect the heart by relaxing the tension in blood vessels and arteries.
8. Respiratory Health:
Elderberry juice can be your best choice when it comes to tackling a sore throat, common cold and cough, bronchitis or any other problem in the respiratory tract.
9. Diabetes Aid
Elderberries are good for diabetics. Why so? Because some anti-oxidants in it influence the pancreas in the process of regulating the levels of insulin and glucose in the body.
10. Bone Health and Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory compounds in elderberries bring in relief from joint pain and soreness from inflammation. Plus it has essential minerals which promote bone strength and development of new bone tissue.
11.Weight Loss Booster
Given the high amounts of dietary fibre in the elderberry juice, elderberry makes a promising aid when it comes to weight loss. The fibre keeps you feeling full, and you can enjoy a dozen of other health benefits as well!
Elderberry Side Effects
Since only a few species are edible, check out elderberries in a licensed and reputable store. Never cook WILD elderberries. Make sure you have cooked all berries before eating, as they may have traces of cyanide which can be dangerous for health.
Are you suffering from kidney problems? Then skip taking elderberries as they can increase the urine production for some.
Now that the health aspect is covered, let’s get to taste. Yeah, the lesser-known Elderberry has many culinary uses which will surprise you. You just have to read and try them out.
1. Elderberry Jam
Ever heard of immune-boosting jam? There is elderberry jam to try out right away.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup dried elderberries, 3/4 cup filtered water, 1.5 cups lemon or lime juice, 3 tsp pectin (sugar-free), 1/2 cup date paste (or vegetable glycerine)
How to Make:
- Soak elderberries in water and leave them overnight
- Morning next, boil berries, water and lemon juice
- Remove 1 cup of jam mixture from heat
- Add pectin and date paste
- Blend until smooth
- Put the blended mix to boil and keep stirring it for 10 minutes
- The Elderberry Jam is ready. Transfer it into canning jars.
Tips: Do you know what the sugar-free pectin does? It hardens the jam after it cools down.
Note: Always heat elderberries. In their raw form, they are said to have constituent which is somewhat similar to cyanide (which is dangerous for health).
2. Elderberry Syrup
Are you suffering from colds, flu or ailments of the upper respiratory tract? Elderberry Syrup is a popular go-to remedy for illness prevention.
Ingredients: 2 cups organic dried elderberry, 3.5 cups of cold water, 1 tbsp (fresh or dried) organic ginger root, 1 tbsp organic cinnamon powder or 1 cinnamon stick and 1 cup raw honey
How to Make:
- Take a saucepan and pour water in it
- Now add elderberries, ginger and cinnamon
- Bring it to boil
- Simmer it over low-flame for 40 minutes till the liquid gets reduced to half
- Remove the saucepan from the heat
- Mash the berries
- Pour this semi-liquid concoction in a glass bowl through a strainer
- Add honey
- Stir it well till it gets well-combined
- Transfer the preparation in a sterilized glass container.
Tips: Elderberry tea makes a good option too. Buy it in the form of either teabags or dried berries or flowers (you can make tea out of it by combining 1 tbsp berries or flowers with 8 ounces of water).
Precaution to Take Elderberries:
When taken properly, Elderberries have fewer side effects. But if you are taking medication for the following ailments, then do talk to your healthcare provider before consuming elderberries:
- Diuretics (water pills)
- Immunosuppressant (which includes corticosteroids)
- Autoimmune disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis)
- Theophylline (TheoDur)
- Organ transplants
- Pregnant or breast-feeding women
If you ever face mild allergy after taking elderberries, then discontinue it.
Tips for Elderberries:
The good news is that elderberries are at their best in the autumn season (August to October). Which means it is the ripe season to use it for tasty treats – like pies, jams, crumbles and even liqueurs.
Wear aprons as the inky juices of elderberries can leave your clothes stained.
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If you still have a question, comment below.