Health - Recipes

Canning Elderberry Juice

Harvested Elderberries
Harvested Elderberries

A number of recipes for elderberry syrup are posted on the internet. I have collected ideas for making the best use of my elderberries. I want to preserve the health benefits for this fall and winter.

UPDATE 3/13/2020: Please use caution when taking elderberry syrup during a viral infection. It is possible that it may overstimulate the immune system.  This article explains when you should stop taking elderberry.

UPDATE 5/31/2020: Another article about the effects of elderberry and information about cytokines.

I have a good harvest of berries this year. Instead of making a syrup to keep in the refrigerator, I am going to can elderberry juice. Then during flu season, I can bring out the preserved juice and add some raw honey.  Raw honey has helpful enzymes, but the health benefit diminishes if it is heated.

The recipe for elderberry juice: place 1 cup of water for each cup of berries in a stainless steel pot. (If you are using dried berries you will need 2 cups of water for each cup of berries.) Bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat, covered, for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Crush the berries with a potato masher and add ¼ teaspoon ceylon cinnamon for each cup of berries, a slice of organic ginger root and a couple slices of an organic lemon.


Simmer for 20 minutes more without a cover. Strain the berries in a strainer that has been lined with a double layer of cheesecloth.


Allow it to drain, pressing on the berries periodically with a wooden spoon. Add ¼ cup honey to each cup of strained juice and mix thoroughly. Heat the juice to a simmer over medium heat before pouring into sterilized jars.

According to instructions for berry juice in Stocking Up* the juice can be canned in a hot water bath. Place the prepared lids on the jars. Tighten the lids and then give a quarter turn back. Place in the prepared boiling water–making sure that the jars are submerged, water above the lids.  Instructions for pint or quart jars give a 30 minute processing time. I plan to use 8 ounce jars. For 8 oz. jars the time might be a little less, but to be safe I will process for 30 minutes. (If you make a small amount of juice there is no need to can it. Allow the juice to cool. Add 1/2 cup of raw honey to a cup of juice and refrigerate. It will keep for a couple months.)


When the jar of juice is opened for use it can be poured into a larger jar and raw honey added. And then it should be kept in the refrigerator. A child can be given a teaspoon at a time. An adult can take a tablespoon at a time. The dose can be repeated every couple hours when fighting a cold or the flu.

An alternative way to use the juice–place a teaspoon (or a tablespoon) of juice in  water or cooled tea. Add a teaspoon of raw honey.

NOTE: This remedy is not for children under one year of age; they should not be given honey.

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Stocking Up edited by Carol H. Stoner, Rodale Press: Emmaus, PA 1977.

Linking with Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural HopOur Simple Homestead HopFriendship Friday,  A Little R & R,  Wildcrafting WednesdaysTuesdays with a Twist and Titus 2sday

Carol is a follower of Jesus and a wife, mom & grandma. She worked for many years as a childbirth nurse and prenatal educator. She recently retired from clinical work. She has written articles for nursing journals and devotionals. Her novel, Aliisa's Letter, was published in 2010 and she is currently working on another project.

23 Comments on “Canning Elderberry Juice

  1. Hi Carol,
    Thank you so much for your recipe. I’ve been looking everywhere for a recipe that is shelf stable. I also really look forward to canning for the first time! I have a couple of quick questions for you…first, the recipes I have used tell me not to put the lid on. Can you tell me why you do? Do you think the water from the steam going back in the pot could dilute things a bit or no? Second, you call this a juice rather than a syrup. Do you mind if I ask why? Would you modify the recipe in any way to call it a syrup instead?

    1. Initially I keep the lid on while cooking the berries before mashing them. Then when all of the ingredients are added, I don’t have a cover. I suppose if you cooked the liquid longer, allowing it to become more concentrated, it might be more like a syrup. A syrup may also require more honey during the cooking process. I prefer to let it be thinner in consistency and then add raw honey to the juice when I open a jar.

  2. Hello. I simply want to can the juice for use in several ways later. Do I need to add lemon juice to bring up the acidity level to prevent spoilage? Thanks

  3. Bless you, Carol,
    I hate to overprocess anything so as I am pondering your canning elderberry method, why simmer it for an hour first when we could prepare the juice with the berries then add them to the jars, seal, and process for that 30 minute water bath and put them up with the berries still in the jars? It wouldn’t matter if it ended up more bitter cuz after opening a jar one could strain it and add raw honey to it then. What do you think?

      1. Thank you for doing this! I have been wanting to do a large batch for a while but have spent two flu seasons making elderberry syrup every 3 weeks or so. With another baby on the way, I want to stock up.

        I do have one question: Do you find the health benefits as potent as before canning? I am just curious if the high heat seems to lessen the potency.

  4. It says to add 1/4 c honey to the juice and then heat it and then can. I thought in the beginning you said you liked to have the important attributes of the honey so you don’t heat it. I am confused. Later you say after you open the jar you add honey. Am I correct in reading that you DO add honey to the juice and then can it AND when opening a jar you add more honey? If this is how you do it I am assuming the first honey addition is not raw because you are heating thus nullifiying the important attributes . Am I correct? I really want to get this correct because I did not enjoy freezing the berries and making juice every time I needed it last year for us. I want the juice ready to go. Thank you in advance.

    1. You are correct. The honey that I add before canning is not raw (you could omit it). The raw honey is added to the jar when you open it. I use 8 oz. canning jars so that I have a small quantity open at one time.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed your careful and detailed description of the process for canning elderberry juice. It is so important to understand important nuances and safety precautions when making natural preparations and when canning. I hope to try this recipe with dried berries. Thank you for sharing your valuable and empowering insights with us at the Healthy Happy Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I’m pinning and sharing.

    1. Thank-you! I just gave my sister one of my jars of elderberry juice to help her fight off a lingering cold.

  6. Hello Carol, I have always enjoyed berries and the juice is cooling.
    I use honey too instead of sugar as a sweetner.
    Lovely to share your flu recipe and juice making.
    God Bless

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