I never cease to be amazed at how useful my Instant Pots are…and how easy they’ve made cooking. When I came across a recipe for elderberry syrup made in the IP, I had to try it. I wasn’t disappointed!
The elderberry harvest was glorious this year – so many berries! I usually have to race the birds to try to get enough for a single batch of syrup (because, of course, the berries ripen at different times, even on the same bushes), but it was pretty much all-you-can-pick berries, lasting, easily, for a couple of weeks. It was amazing. It helped to have several new volunteer bushes fruit this year, and fruit abundantly. I’ve also seen some new elderberry bushes popping up around the farm, probably thanks to the birds.
But back to the harvest: so, after harvesting a whole passel of clusters, I spent quite a bit of time pulling the berries off the stems by hand and then picking out immature or unsuitable berries. I’ve since read that a fork works well to remove the berries – filed away for future use. While removing the thousands of berries (ok, maybe hundreds), I also relocated the many bugs that climbed out of the berry clusters, most of which were tiny spiders. It was a labor-intensive process, repeated several times, and my fingers were well-stained afterward.
Once I had about 4 cups of berries ready, I put them into my 3-quart Duo Mini, along with a cinnamon stick, sliced ginger, a few whole cloves, and some crushed green cardamom pods. I filled the pot to the max line with filtered water and set it for 10 minutes on Manual.
When the cook time elapsed, I vented the pressure (quick release) and strained the liquid into a large bowl. After allowing it to cool, I stirred in about 1/4 cup honey and stevia to taste (probably about 1/4 tsp). While my preference is to use stevia or erythritol as primary sweeteners, honey does have beneficial properties (like throat soothing qualities), so I just used a limited amount. The flavor of the finished syrup was lovely – gently perfumed by the spices, and delicious either by itself or added to kombucha.
While the berry prep was labor-intensive, it was worth it…and when the cool weather really arrives, I’ll have frozen berries ready to make the next batch of immune-boosting syrup in my Instant Pot!
The finished syrup should be stored in the refrigerator, and may build up pressure over time. Use caution when opening and burp the bottle periodically (as needed) or risk a sticky, purple ceiling…I know.