Sleepless nights, crying toddlers, kids piled on the couch, fevers, scratchy throats, boogers and running noses. Sound familiar? The cold season is almost here. Now is the time to start building up your arsenal of natural remedies to fight off all the germs. If you stock up now preparing your own home remedies or buying them you will hopefully be ready for whatever comes your way.
Each fall and summer I spend time harvesting herbs, preparing tinctures, making syrups and other home remedies to build up the immune system and flight of illness. It’s important to have them ready since the colder it gets the more time we will be spending inside making it easier to spread germs. (That really is the main cause for illness spreading not the weather itself.)
There is a whole list of herbs that I use, elderberry is always near the top of that list. Last year I wrote a post about the many uses of elder. Despite the elderberries’ fame, you can use the flowers, berries, leaves and bark as well. I make a big batch of elderberry syrup each year. Last summer I was so excited to harvest fresh berries when I was visiting family rather than using dried. I also use the berries in my immunity boosting tincture.
I know not all of you have the time or desire to make your own elderberry syrup. That’s were great companies like Norm’s Farms (formerly Elderberry Life) come into play. Norm’s Farms is a small company that produces all things elderberry. They source their berries in North America. 10 % of elderberries that are consumed in the US are actually grown here, the other 90% come from Europe. I love that they keep their ingredients “more local” and support small farmers! Their main farm is in Missouri. They also work with a few small farms in North Carolina.
This summer I received a package in the mail from Norm’s Farms. I was delighted when I opened the box full of glass jars wrapped in lavender and recycled brown paper. I personal note from the company was included. The box included all things elderberry; syrup, juice, jam and jelly! (To see the Sampler Pack I received click here.) You can buy their products including elder trees from their on-line store or from a few stores in North Carolina and Tennessee.
How I Am Using These Products:
Like I mentioned before I like to make my own but sometimes you need some ready-made instead. This summer I caught a cold while on my travels. The syrup came to the rescue and nixed the cold right away. (That’s also why it didn’t make the picture.) In addition to elderberry the syrup also contains three other power house ingredients honey, clove and cinnamon that aid in the healing process.
Elderberry Jam and Jelly
The jam and jelly remind me of the jelly my Grandma Stanley used to make from the berries she collected each summer. They are perfect on toast, sourdough crumpets (like the ones you will find in Steeped), scones PBJ’s and oatmeal.
This can be taken on its own or added to another juice/mineral water for an immunity boosting and tasty drink. I’m saving mine to add to my medicinal kit for those times when I forget to make more. This is nothing more than pure elderberry juice.
Pros: I love that the company is “local”, sustainable and works with small farmers. The products are delicious and easy to use. The owners are wonderful to work with and very helpful. Norm’s Farms syrup travels well which is a huge plus since my does not because it requires refrigeration.
Cons: I wish that the jam and jelly used honey or another sweetener instead of sugar.
Over All: I don’t have qualms promoting or buying more products from Norm’s Farms in the future. I still prefer to make my own but I know that not everyone can or wants to do that.
An important thing to note is that elderberry is a medicine and not a daily immune defense. I do enjoy a nice elderberry treat, jam or sweet syrup on occasion but not frequently. Please consider reading this article on Modern Alternative Mama before consuming elderberry on a daily basis.