Dark cold winters over the last few years have been vastly improved for me through the heartwarming activity of making delicious spiced winter berry syrups. I can’t emphasise just how easy these are to make, and while they absolutely do fall into the category of medicine, they are very scrummy and I wouldn’t hold it against you for dribbling them all over whatever you happen to be eating..
While you can make syrups with dried berries available from local health food or home-brewing shops, there’s no real substitute for going out and harvesting your own. Any opportunity for catching some sun while the days are so short has huge benefits for your mood and physical health. For this syrup, I harvested elderberries and rose hips, both full of vitamins and abundant in hedgerows. The magic of winter hedgerow berries is that they are full of constituents which can help boost us during this dark cold time. A spoonful a day can help prevent colds and winter bugs.
1kg of Rosehips & Elderberries (in any proportion you like)
3 litres of water
500g dark brown soft sugar
Fresh root ginger
1 Cinnamon stick
What to do:
1. Bring 3 litres of water to the boil
2. Chop rosehips up either with a blender, or a good old fashioned masher until they are roughly pulped
3. Separate elderberries from the stalks
4. Chop up a thumb sized piece of ginger into small pieces (you can adjust this according to how spicy you like it)
6. Bring the water back to the boil, simmer for a few minutes, then remove from the heat. Allow it to steep for 20 mins.
7. Pour the mixture through a jelly bag or muslin (fine cloth) and allow the juice to drip through. Extract as much liquid as you can
8. Add the sugar and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the strained liquid and dissolve. Allow it to simmer for five minutes and then pour into bottles
This recipe was adapted from www.eatweeds.co.uk A brilliant website, which I recommend checking out. Once your syrup is cooled and bottled, store it in the fridge to be on the safe side, and I usually have about 2 tablespoons in the morning for its immune boosting effects!
Syrups generally are a very simple remedy to make, and a good way to encourage people who don’t like the taste of some medicines to take herbs.