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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, resident herbal specialist, I need to pick your brain, lol. :)

I put dried elderberries in 80 proof vodka and have 2 wide mouth pints now working for a tincture. What can I do with the berries once the tincture is done? Can I use the berries again? I would assume that the resulting tincture would be weaker, but will it still contain enough of the active ingredient to work? Do I have to strain off the liquid tincture or can I leave the vodka on the berries and add more vodka a bit at a time as I use the tincture?

I haven't done this before, so I'm not sure if I'm doing it right. The herbals I have say to use the flowers, or that I have to make a 1:4 solution of alcohol to water, or that I should use fresh berries rather than dried (after I'd just finished drying mine), or, or, or.....Now I'm hopelessly confused. I thought all I had to do was pour vodka over elderberry berries and wait! :shrug:
 

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Well... common word is to throw out the berries.
Now me?
I don't think I could bear it.

You could freeze them on a cookie sheet and then into a bag with them.
You could use them for muffins or scones in the winter.
Or drop a few into a nice herbal tea or, even better, some hot apple cider with a smidge of sherry or brandy and some ginger!

You could then dry the berries and into some honey with them to flavor your honey and give it a bit of color..

Just remember that they will have a bit of alcohol burn to them.

And as far as the tincture itself..
You want either the raw or dried berries.
Makes no nevermind which.

Then all alcohol. No water.
Cover the berries well and you can top it off if needs be as you go.
LABELwith the date and what it is and the 'removal' date as well
so you don't have to be thinking back.
Keep it in a dark place or wrap the jar in dark cloth or brown paper (2 layers on the paper).
Shake it whenever you think of it.

Strain it into a clean bottle or jar and LABEL again with the date you bottled it.
Go ahead and write the dosage on the label, for adults and children, so that someone can administer it for you if you need it and are buried in your blankets.

And then use the berries in hot ginger tea when you feel crappy!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Awesome! I knew I'd asked the right person. :D Thank you SO much for the help!

What would you recommend for a preventative dose vs dosing when you actually feel a cold or flu coming on?

I'm so glad I did it right, putting the dry berries into straight vodka! I had to separate into 2 pint jars as the berries re-hydrated, and added more vodka, so I figure 2 weeks from this morning when I added the last of the hooch? I have them in a dark cabinet, but I'll add a couple layers of lunch sacks tomorrow when I shake them again. Is there any "expiration date" for the finished and stored tincture?
 

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The first thing to do is to try it out before you feel sick.

You should always try out herbs to see how they effect you. Everyone is different and everyone has a different affinity for different herbs. (I can take valerian root and passionflower ALL day with no effects except to have my muscles feel better. DH can take only one or suffer from feeling mildly sedated. Chamomile doesn't do much for me, but skullcap takes the tension out of my shoulders in an instant and makes me feel delightfully sleepy)

And start small. I would go with 5 drops in a smidge of water.
Hold that in your mouth for a while, then down the hatch.
About holding it in your mouth: herbals like teas, tinctures, distillates etc.. can and should be held in the mouth. Unlike pills or capsules, the herbs can be absorbed right through your mucous tissues(this includes the mouth, enemas and douches), skipping the whole 'into the stomach, wait, then on into the small intestines etc..' You won't get the whole thing absorbing through, but some and it is a bit different than waiting for it to be worked upon by stomach acids.

And there is no set dose for an herbal.
Everyone is different and different from year to year.
That is another reason to always start small.
But the 'assumed' dosage is 20-40 drops for tinctures.
And 1/3 of that for children. Also test the children before they need it.

And as far as timing it?
Well.. 2 weeks is usually for the very delicate herbs; herbs or blossoms that would dessicate after a long period of time.
With elderberries, you can go for a couple of months with no harm done.
I even have some hardy herbs that just live in the alcohol (or in the oil if I am making an oil)
I am not sure if you can leave the elderberries in too long.
I would definitely go much longer than 2 weeks.
Say.. 2 months +.
 

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Hi Chickenista, would mind explaining just what I would use it for? I didn't dry any this year. Mine is canned as juice. Is this any good for anything? Thanks, Sheryl
 

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If it were my juice, I would leave it as is.
You can use it during cold/flu season as you would a cough syrup, taking a few tablespoons several times a day or you can turn it into a syrup with sugar/honey, cinnamon and ginger.

If it were me, I would go ahead and make a 'honey syrup'. Add the spices into a small jar with honey and leave that to sit and wait for you to need it.
Ginger, a cinnamon stick and some dried orange if you would like etc.. and leave that on the shelf in your pantry.
You can add the juice in as needed, a small amount per day in a separate jar.

And after you open your jar of juice, either keep it in the fridge or freeze it into an ice cube tray and store the cubes in the freezer and thaw as needed.
 

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HI Chickenista1
I made the tincture with vodka about 1 year ago. Took the berries out on time.

Is there an expiration date on using the tincture? I didn't think so as you can drink flavored vodkas forever.
But wanted to make sure.
Thanks, SG
 

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They should be good for quite a long while, but the 'standard' thought is 2 years.
This gives you the option of having a bad harvest year.

You should make new with every new year that comes along, but you can still use it after a year if the harvest was bad and you don't have any herbs, barks or berries to harvest.

Another good rule of thumb is to have a small bottle that you can pour into.
That way you aren't opening your larger stash for each dose, keeping the main bottle fresher.
 

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Thanks! I would just never have thought to freeze in it the ice cube trays. Duh. Next year I will dehydrate some.
 

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Would rum be ok? I love reading your posts!
I imagine it would be fine.

Because rum is such a distinct flavor. I would try three small batches. One with a light rum, the second with a black rum, the third with a spiced rum.

Just to see how the flavors mix. See which batch has the best resultant flavor.

I have been using Everclear, partly because it has no flavor. But also because per volume of alcohol it is the cheapest source of alcohol. [$14 for 750ml at 95% pure, as compared to $14 for 750ml at 40% rum/whiskey/vodka/etc]
 

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When we lived in Alaska the elderberries were small, red-orange and astringent. So astringent that if you picked them without gloves, you'd lose your fingerprints. Here in Oregon, what they call elderberries are blue-black, larger and not nearly as bitter. What kind are you using?
Kit
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Kit, Only use the blue/black berries. I think the red ones are poisonous for people. I grew up with a huge elderberry tree in the front yard...Mom made jelly from the berries every year. Wasn't my favorite jelly, as it was a bit tart, but in small amounts, it was good. I don't have bushes growing here, but am going to plant some of the berries I harvested on my trip and fingers crossed, will be able to grow my own elderberries again in a few years.

ET1 SS, I didn't think about pricing Everclear - didn't even see it at the store. I'll look next time I'm there. I bought the cheapest vodka I could find for the tincture.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yeah, there is a difference between the ones you have and the ones that stay red.

It looks like we are testing our tincture before it even has a chance to get to full strength. Abby woke up with a scratchy, sore throat, stuffy nose and achy muscles. We've been out and about more in the last week than we have pretty much since she came home, and I guess she picked up a bug. I strained some of the liquid off, added sugar to it and watered it down a hair before dosing her (and me). Wouldn't drink this stuff for fun, but if it helps her feel better faster and helps keep me from catching anything, I'll hold my nose and swallow, lol. (I'm really not fond of the taste of alcohol.)
 

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Oops

Our elderberries are Sambucus *****. We have many sub-varieties of them growing around here.

***** is a sub-set of canadensis, of which both Adams and Goodbarn are popular here. Mine are mostly goodbarn.

They can be ordered from http://www.fedcoseeds.com/

I prefer goodbarn as they are self-pollinating.
 

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Chickenista- you are a true blessing- honestly- I am sitting here so frustrated with this darned sewing machine not doing what I want it to do for the last hour and this thread- has made me smile- sharing your knowledge is not to be forgotten- THANK you!
I love it!
I have a newbie Elderberry plant/bush growing in the yard- I am so excited!
 
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