You may have heard about the benefits of elderberries, but did you know their spring flowers also have medicinal properties? Both elder flowers and berries are used for minimizing the symptoms of the common cold and the flu.
HARVESTING ELDER FLOWERS
Blue elder flowers bloom from the end of May through early summer in Central and Eastern Washington depending on your elevation. The deep blue berries will be ready to harvest in September and October. In Western Washington, the non-edible red elder trees are more common. You will need to make the trip over the mountains to harvest the immune boosting blue elder.
When harvesting flowers, look for the flowers that are open and budding. Pollinated flowers turn brown and have less health benefits. Cut the entire flower head off the tree and shake out any bugs. Harvest responsibly and leave plenty of flowers for fall berries.
Anthony William states that unprocessed raw honey is a miracle food from God and the earth. Not only is it a powerful brain food, it helps to strengthen our immune system. The bees collect pollen from numerous plants, which leads to honey that is filled with powerful phytochemicals that fight viruses and bacteria.
Honey is also used in medicine-making. It has the ability to pull out the constituents in the plants preserving the plant medicine in the honey. Susanne Tabert, the herbalist I studied under, has more information on making your own herbal honey in Plant Medicine Made Easy.
MAKING ELDERFLOWER HONEY
Fill a jar ¾ full of packed elder flowers. Use scissors or your hands to strip the flowers off the stems. I would recommend first placing the flowers in a bowl to give any bugs time to fly away before placing them in a jar.
Once your jar is ¾ full of elder flowers, slowly pour raw honey into the jar. This will take a little time as the honey runs down through the flowers. After several hours or the next morning, check to see if the jars need any more honey. The honey should be at the top of the jar. Be sure to date and label your jars.
Your elderflowers and honey will need to process for 6 weeks. I keep my jars in a dark cupboard. About every week I turn the jar upside down to mix up the honey flower mixture. Place a plate under the jars in case any honey leaks. After 6 weeks, strain the flowers from the honey overnight using a fine mesh strainer letting the elderflower honey drip into a bowl underneath. Your elderflower honey is now ready for use!
LEMON HONEY WATER
I love using this sweet flowery honey in my morning lemon water! Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon, add 2 teaspoons of elderflower honey and 32 ounces of water. Mix and enjoy this immune boosting drink!!
Watch the video below as I harvest elderflowers in Leavenworth, WA.
You might also be interested in Making Your Own Elderberry Syrup: Immune Support & Virus Protection.