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How to Choose an Elderberry Product

Posted by Liz Farrell on
How to Choose an Elderberry Product

Elderberry is a popular berry (for good reasons), and there are lots of elderberry products out there. Some have even been tested and shown they are not elderberries at all, or that the content of elderberry is overstated on the label.

This is not an advertisement for our own Elderberry Apple Shots, but rather a helpful tip on how to choose an elderberry product.

Spend Your Money on Elderberry

If you want to spend your money on ELDERBERRY (rather than another ingredient), here's how to make the best choice. Of course you may have other requirements (for example, gluten-free or honey-free or child approved), but this is a great starting point.

Choose a product with elderberries as the first or second ingredient.

This is harder than it sounds. Take a look at the Supplement Facts label in the photo and there's a lot to get through! I looked at the part circled in red to notice that a serving size is a little over a teaspoon, 6.5 ml. In that teaspoon, there is 1.5 g of elderberry blend (shown in the green circle). For watery/liquid items, 1 ml is about 1 gram. So in this product, 23% of the bottle is 'elderberry blend'. Another 3% is what they call "organic immune blend". What this bottle probably has the most of is tapioca syrup, glycerin syrup, and water (listed as "Other Ingredients").

Avoid products which list water as an ingredient.

Why would you purchase water?

Choose something you will enjoy consuming.

If you like sweet things, an elderberry tincture, fire cider, or a pure unsweetened juice will take some getting used to. If you forget to take pills, then capsules will languish on your shelf. If you don't like the taste of elderberries, then maybe the capsules would work for you, or possibly gummies. If you are a whole-food believer, then anything highly processed will be a turn-off.

Generally, elderberry tea blends have the least amount of elderberry in them, along with gummies. A pure elderberry juice has the most minimally-processed elderberry in it. The concentrates have very high amounts of elderberry in them, but they have been highly processed in order to concentrate the elderberries. This can be done with solvents, heat, or reverse-osmosis machines.

If you are looking at our Elderberry Apple Shots, you may notice that our label looks different than many other brands. We sell our "Shots" (like a syrup, but slightly too thin to call it syrup) as a regular food item, not a supplement. I've written a short article about why we did that.

What About Homemade Elderberry Syrup?

Most homemade elderberry syrups call for dried berries, which reconstitute in hot/boiling water. Even some commercially available syrups use dried berries. I cannot find any information about how many milligrams of elderberry are present after the boiling phase. I have doubts that the dried berries have more nutrition after all that boiling, and so a homemade syrup may end up being more expensive on an elderberry-per-gram basis than a purchased one made from fresh/frozen berries. 

Would love to hear your comments or suggestions! (due to bots/spam issues, the comments are moderated so you won't see your comment right away)  

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  • Harriet Honderick on

    After reading several different articles in various places l chose Fat Stone Farm because of the Apple Shots. The article intrigued me and the testimonials definitely made up my mind. This as well as home grown made my direction. I don’t have one complaint! I follow the directions and have moved into your home, although you don’t know this.!!
    I just put it in my water and sip til its gone, the flavor is not unappealing. Rather more like prune juice, that’s my close to taste! The price wasn’t a factor, it’s whether the product works as stated.
    I’ll be back to order more later…

  • LIsa on

    I pick them fresh each summer and make my own juice. Freeze then make jam with it. Made syrup for taking a few years ago but found a recipe to add sugar and cloves, didn’t like the cloves at all. Wondered if i use honey to make syrup for taking.? In the meantime, i buy elderberry tablets and take two daily. Haven’t had a cold or flu for atleast three years now!

  • LuAnn on

    I dont know how I heard of Fat Stone Farm but 1 of the top best things to happen to me. I have ben using eldeberry syrup for years but diskijed the sweetness….ugh always too sweet and then I found Appleshots….So much better and I feel the difference with the better quality product. Thank you Fatstone Farms! Ally your products are great. Gummiez are great!

  • Kristi on

    After years of collecting elderberries in the mountains, I finally planted a bush in out backyard. I have often wondered what the nutrient comparison was between dried and fresh elderberries.

  • Griselle on

    Like Tabatha, I too use organic dried elderberry and have gotten great results and a lot of positive testimonies from clients. You definitely have to follow a recipe from an expert source. Many of the recipes you find online are terrible and would not recommend. Instant pot recipes for example. That’s a big no-no. The elderberry has to be brought to boil and left to simmer uncovered at medium heat. And once it boils, simmer for an hour. It takes along time , but it needs that time to get rid of cyanide like properties.

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