Sharing an elderberry syrup elixir recipe, and DIY kits too!

It’s that time of year, again… Cold and flu season.

We often feel run down around the holidays, which makes us more susceptible to these kinds of viruses. But, many people are turning towards older herbal remedies, especially elderberries, (Sambucus nigra).

The use of elderberries has gained in popularity. With some scientific testing to back it up, elderberries can offer relief from coughs, colds, & even the flu when made into a syrup elixir. Also known for their immune boosting properties, elderberries are rich in antioxidants, and a source of Vitamin C.

It’s one of the best alternatives to big-pharma products, some of which may contain additives that people don’t want to give themselves or their family members. A must-have in many people’s natural cold and flu cabinets, (aka fridge in this case!).

I take a spoonful (a day) at the sign of an oncoming cold, or if I feel run down, or have been around someone else who feels sick. For the past 3 years, (knock on wood!), my elderberry syrup has kept these kinds of viruses at bay.

That’s why I’d like to share our new DIY Elderberry Syrup Kit! Now, anyone can create this lovely, useful herbal alternative.

Available here, at my -> Etsy Shop

This kit includes all the ingredients you need to create your own syrup, plus. easy-to-follow directions, & recipes, & a drawstring bag. .📨 

All you need to have on hand is some honey (or maple syrup), to create a batch of elderberry syrup that will last most of the winter, if kept in the fridge. (Approximately 32 oz, or 1 quart.)

The labelled & organic ingredients include:

× Elderberries
× Elderberry flowers
× Ginger
× Echinacea Root
(Spices) × Cardamom× Cloves × Cinnamon Bark × Star Anise × Eleuthero Root

🙌 Here’s my recipe! (Feel free to share)

  1. Place elderberries, water, herbs and spices in sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let the mixture steep for an hour.
  4. Using cheesecloth, (or a very fine mesh sieve), strain the mixture.
  5. Transfer your batch in to a jar and stir in 1 cup of honey, (or maple syrup if you so desire).
  6. Keep it in the fridge, sealed for up to 3-4 weeks.

Be well my friends!

~ Karen

P.S. View more of our DIY Kits -> HERE.

Thank you!


*** Please note:
× These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

× Please review this product’s ingredients before use to determine if you have an allergy, if you’re pregnant, or breastfeeding. ***Always consult a physician if unsure.

The Musk Mallow, or Malva moschata for Flowering Friday

Widely grown as an ornamental plant for its attractive and slightly scented flowers, the musk mallow blooms throughout the summer.

Several cultivars have been selected for variation in flower colour, including the one shown here from my garden, ‘Rosea’, with its dark pink flowers.  The cultivar ‘Alba’ (white flowered) earned the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Though not native to North America, (more Eastern European/Central Asia), I consider it an heirloom plant because it’s been in cultivation for a long time, as you can see from the hand-coloured botanical engraving below from the 1700’s.

Pretty colour, lovely scent, drought tolerant, and the bees love them… The musk mallow ticks all the right boxes when I’m choosing flowers for my garden! 🙂

 

Joe Pye Weed – a favourite native plant for bees, butterflies, and me!

Joe Pye Weed, aka Eupatorium maculatum, (or in some circles, Eutrochium), is a big favourite with bees, butterflies, and me!

Every year it seems, nature offers me a new favourite flower, perhaps one I’ve previously known about but overlooked. These beautiful natives, despite having the word ‘weed’ in their name, should not be overlooked by gardeners.

The bright pink to mauve flowers offer food to pollinators from July through late September.  A native plant, this lovely, tall specimen thrives in full sun to light shade.

It prefers moist soil, but will tolerate a drier spot if it’s watered well enough in the beginning, so their roots can grow deep enough and therefore not dry out too quickly.

Give them optimum conditions, they’ll grow up to 6 feet tall in Zones 4 through 8.

Their preferred habitat includes moist meadows, or the banks along a stream or pond. Plant them in your butterfly/pollinator garden, or a slightly damp spot on your property.

(If you’re smitten with these flowers like I am, just an FYI that I’ll have some seeds from this lovely plant listed in my Etsy shop over the next day or so.)

Thank you!

Saving Seeds – Food and gardening biodiversity

Everyone can save seeds!

Beginners and experienced gardeners can easily learn how.

I’d like to offer a few reasons on why we should save our seeds.

1) Saving seeds appeals to my motto of “waste not want not”.

I hate to see anything good go unused, and the economical reasons alone, especially in today’s financial climate, makes a ton of sense.
Seed savers knows that by gathering up seeds and storing them carefully away for next year’s garden is preservation for next year’s crop, and less money to fork out.

2) Personal selection.

I like the thought of developing my own vigorous strains over several seasons of selective seed saving. By saving seeds from the plants with the qualities you most prize, you will soon have varieties that are ideally adapted to your garden and growing conditions.

3) Maintain biodiversity.

This is likely the most important reason.

Fewer and fewer old varieties of food crops are available, so seed saving keeps the vegetable world’s food choices diversified.
Today many of the world’s food plants are disappearing, including vegetables, grains and fruit varieties.

Approx. 70 % of the world’s major food plants have already been lost. This is because modern agriculture practices require high yield, uniform plants, so the genetic base of the world’s food plants has been greatly reduced. This has left the world dependent on a few, closely related varieties of each crop.

4) Historical value.
Many plant varieties we save or trade are living links to the past.
Seed saving is a way to link with our ancestors. As gardeners, this is a responsibility and opportunity to pass these wonderful heirlooms to future generations.

5) Sustainability.

Many big companies sell varieties that are tasteless, but travel well. That’s not a good enough reason for me. Self reliance is very satisfying. It is our right to save seeds and make sure that there is enough variety on the planet which makes for biodiversity. It’s the cycle of life.

The thing is, we don’t need gigantic corporate conglomerates holding all the cards, or whittling down our choice of food or flowers.

These big companies, (I don’t have to mention names here), make most of their money, (their sole goal), selling toxic chemicals to spray produce with, on food that we ingest.

I’ll never be convinced this aim of theirs benefits us or any other form of life on earth, including the smallest microbes in soil.

Consider shopping locally if you can! Farmers’ markets & local festivals are a great place to start. Many locally based businesses carry organically sourced goods from small producers in their region, and of course almost anything can be acquired online.


For more information visit:

Seeds Of Diversity

Canada’s Heritage Seed Program – A non-profit group of gardeners who save seeds from rare and unusual garden plants for the purpose of preserving varieties – Purchase the manual – “How to Save Seeds” from their website!

Navdanya

Vandana Shiva on Seed Saving – “The desire to save seeds comes from an ethical urge to defend life’s evolution” says Vandana Shiva, activist, author and scholar.

150,000 farmers in India have committed suicide in areas where seed has been destroyed…where they have to buy the seed every year from Monsanto at a very high cost.

Saving seeds is crucial now for our farmers, for the plant varieties and species that will otherwise be extinct, for the health of the land and ourselves.

Seed Savers (U.S.A.)

“Since 1975, we have grown, saved, and shared heirloom seeds and led a movement to protect biodiversity and preserve heirloom varieties. At the heart of our organization is a seed bank that houses a collection of 20,000+ rare, open-pollinated varieties.”


Thoughts of Spring and Crocus flowers lead me to the garden

n the first day of Spring my thoughts always lead me to the garden.

One of the first flowers to greet me after a long winter is the lovely Crocus.

With petal colours varying from white, purple, yellow, and even striped, this small perennial bulb, (corm), planted in autumn for its spring show, originates from the Alps, and offers abundant blossoms that brighten up the beds, often while other parts of the my garden are still heavily laden with snow.

Ancient legend relates Crocus as an unfortunate lover. The myth centres around his unfulfilled and tragic love for Smilax, a woodland nymph, also transformed but in her case, as a brambly vine. His sorrow it is said, awakened sympathy from the gods who aided his metamorphosis into what we now know as this dainty spring flower.

According to old lists containing flower meanings, the Crocus flower is equated to both ‘Spring’ and ‘cheerfulness’. And why not after a long, dreary winter?! Both meanings seem quite appropriate!

Out from the heart of the Crocus,
There leaped to my heart a song,
It was as though an angel
Had borne the word along,
And its message drew and held me,
Until my soul was strong.

~ E.M. Hill

Saffron, the stigma from Crocus sativus is a very expensive spice. Along with being a food additive, it scents perfumes, cosmetics, and is a component of traditional medicines. Studies show it works as an anti-carcinogentic, boosts the immune system, and is an antioxidant.

Shown on frescoes dating from 1700 B.C., it’s no wonder this flower has been cultivated and harvested since ancient times in the Middle East, North Africa, India, and throughout the Mediterranean region.

In any case, with three feet of snow still to melt in my neck of the woods, I’ll think of this flower, and others, biding my time until I get to enjoy their presence once again.

Happy Spring!