Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry Syrup

A Natural and Potent Cold and Flu Remedy

The berries of the Sambucus Nigra, aka elderberry, plant are naturally high in immune-boosting compounds that are specifically shown to help beat the cold and flu more quickly. They can be used to make a variety of remedies, one of which is the delicious Elderberry Syrup. Thankfully when it comes to colds and flu nature has provided us with some remedies that can help avoid illnesses and can shorten the duration and severity if you do get them.

Elderberries naturally contain vitamins A, B, and C; are packed with minerals like iron, potassium, phosphorus, and copper; proteins and dietary fiber; and stimulate the immune system. Add some of the beneficial organic compounds that function as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents in the body and you have one powerful berry that really packs a punch! Research has shown that the complex sugars found in elderberries support the immune system in fighting cold and flu. Studies have found that elderberries disarm the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection as a preventative, or taken after infection it prevents the spread of the virus through the respiratory tract.

Elderberries are your natural, go-to cough syrup, not to mention it is kid-approved! The berries contain active ingredients (bioflavonoids like anthocyanins to be exact) that can soothe inflammation and irritation and also can act as an expectorant and clear out phlegm that can trap foreign agents in your glands. They have certain antibacterial and anti-infectious qualities that are commonly used to ward off influenza, protect against the effects of autoimmune disorders, and alleviate certain symptoms and pains.

Pair the elderberries with raw honey, and all that raw honey has to offer, and you have a concentrated immune supporting syrup that tastes amazing!

In addition to an amazing cold and flu remedy, elderberries also aid in digestion, improve heart health, reduce blood pressure, improve respiratory health, improve asthma, boost immunity, control diabetes, improve bone health, ease allergies, skin health, and weight loss.

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The Giving Tree - Wisconsins Maple

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The Giving Tree

Wisconsin’s Sugaring Season

As the sap in maple trees across Wisconsin begins flowing with the early spring warmup, the woods are flooded with maple syrup producers and hobbyists carrying drills, spiles, and buckets to collect the sugary substance for boiling down into sweet, pure maple syrup. Wisconsin ranks 4th in the nation in production of maple syrup, our extreme weather patterns are what makes us so successful.

Weather plays a critical role in sap collection, a brief window of opportunity, which is why so many rush out to the woods during the spring surge. Ideal temperatures for sap to start flowing are nights below freezing and days in the mid 40s. The temperature change causes shifts in pressure that sends sap flowing throughout the tree. Sugarmakers with Schrauth Sweet Sensations are looking forward to this years production, cold winters often make for sweeter sap and due to the extended lows we endured are anticipating an extra delicious, sweet treat.

Many people wonder why pure maple syrup is more expensive than its mass-produced counterparts, but in truth counterparts isn’t even a fair comparison as these contain artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, and use corn syrup as the main sweetner. Real syrup is very labor intensive, but worth all the work to all of us sugarmakers who participate in the boil. There are many methods of collection, smaller operations collect the sap in buckets that must be carried out of the woods on a daily basis, while larger operations have gone in favor of tube and vaccum systems. It takes on average 40 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of syrup from Wisconsin’s state tree, the Sugar Maple. One of the most important things to do when “sugaring” is to keep the sap cold, or boil it down soon after collection. If the sap gets above 40° it will spoil, and there’s no going back from there except to dump all that work and effort back into the ground.

Early settlers of the north-east learned about sugar maples from the Native Americans. Technology has changed dramatically the way that syrup is reduced and collected but the process hasn’t really changed much in the centuries it has been occuing; collect sap and reduce over heat. It is simply the sap of the maple tree, significantly evaporated down to the sugary confection we know and love as pure maple syrup. Syrup is a great natural food, it contains no preservatives, colorings or other additives. Once the sap is boiled down and the syrup is concentrated to the correct density, it is then filtered and “hot pack” bottled.

Over an entire season, the yield of sap can range from 5 to 20 gallons of sap per taphole. This varies significantly due to the weather conditions, the type of collection system, and most importantly the tree’s size, health, and variety. While may Wisconsinites are ready for spring to come in full fledged, those of us who enjoy the flow of sap just hope for a few more weeks of cold. The season is offically over with the continued spring warmth and the budding of the trees. When the season is over the tap, or spile, is removed and the tree wound heals over. Every year a new hole is drilled in a different spot, which can take place for generations. This is why sugarmakers consider Wisconsins Sugar Maple the tree that keeps giving.

Fermented Garlic Honey

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A seemingly odd combination, but once you hear about the ways these two foods can boost your immune system – and how you can turn potent garlic into somewhat of a tasty treat – I know my two favorites will soon be yours too

Health Benefits of Garlic

First up, let’s talk about garlic. Not only does it help your body maintain proper blood pressure, improve heart function, and fight fungal infections, but it has been found to boost your immune system and ward off colds and the flu. Goodness! Maybe we should eat more!

As you all may know, garlic is most potent in its raw form. Allicin is the part of garlic that makes it so beneficial, but unfortunately, it’s also the part that makes it taste and smell so strong. The fresher it is, the stronger it will be!

Instead of shying away from the potency of garlic, let’s embrace it and harness its healing power!

Health Benefits of Raw Honey

Raw honey is full of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, and acts as an antioxidant to fight off free radicals. Although some give it a bad rap because it’s a sweetener, it earns its keep from the incredible nutrients packed into just one tiny tablespoon. Plus the balance of those nutrients won’t spike your blood sugar like refined sugars do.

Before I keep going, let me point out a very important key word: raw.

Typical commercial honeys found at the grocery store are refined and far from their original state. They’re first heated, then watered down and finally filtered to remove any remaining traces of pollen. This process also kills the enzymes and makes the resulting honey void of any vitamins or minerals. If you don’t have the nutrients, you aren’t getting any benefit from eating the honey.

With immune-boosting garlic and antioxidant raw honey at our fingertips, let’s combine them to create a super-power of food for medicine!