At this time of year, early Autumn, the hedgerows along the lanes where we live are abundant with berries. As the blackberries come to an end, the rosehips, haws and sloes are ripening. We also have a few elder trees in the garden so elderberries are plentiful too.
A delicious way to bottle the goodness from all these berries is to make a syrup. Traditionally, it is made with elderberries and rosehips and falls into the medicinal category of syrups to fight Winter colds and viruses as the berries are rich in Vitamin C. I make mine with elderberries and rosehips as the main ingredients but I also add sloes and haws.
Altogether, I aim to have 1 kg of berries, which I add to 3 litres of boiling water. Elderberries (picked off their stalks) and sloes go in whole and I mash the haws and the rosehips beforehand (chopping them in a food processor). I also add a piece of fresh ginger and one cinnamon stick into the pan. I bring this to the boil again for a few minutes then I let it cool down and infuse for around half an hour. I then pour the whole lot into a straining bag until all the juice has come down, usually overnight.
When that’s done, I add 500 g of dark brown sugar and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the pan of strained liquid and I let that simmer for about 5 minutes. I then pour it into sterilised bottles, label them and place in the pantry when they have cooled down completely.
A really tasty, warming syrup – good to eat as is for medicinal aims or mixed with yogurt, ice cream, porridge etc. It is also delicious added to mulled wine.