I know no one wants to think about cold and flu season, but now is the time to get ahead of the game.  Blackberries are coming into season here in the Northeast.  While they can be a bit strong tasting on their own, they pack a powerful health punch.

My little blackberry picker

Blackberry elixir is used when you first have the signs of a cold.  It has similar health benefits of the elderberry syrup we make in the fall. The berries have high levels of both Vitamin C and E, both immune-boosting antioxidants. My stepmother told me it was used by her family for generations, which inspired me to make my own. I’m a big fan of trying to treat a cold quickly, and without a visit to the doctors office.

Fresh blackberries off the vine

Our neighbor has a generous blackberry bush and we made it a family affair to collect some.  Both kids ate some and liked them.  I found them to be a little too strong for my tastes.

I collected about 1 1/2 cups of blackberries to make our first blackberry elixir.  The berries should be rinsed and well drained.  Remove stems and discard any moldy berries.  Add them to a glass jar; I used the pint size.

Cover the berries with brandy

Cover the berries with the brandy.  Secure the top and gently swirl.  Place in a cool, dry spot in your kitchen.  Swirl gently for a few days, then let it ferment for eight weeks.  Mark your jar with the ready date so you know when to strain it. It can sit longer, it will just get stronger.  You can add a tablespoon of sugar to the elixir, however I try to avoid white sugar when possible.  If it’s too tart when you taste it, you can add some simply syrup to the glass.

When you first see the signs of a cold, pour yourself a warm glass just before bed.  Drink it up, get cozy under some warm blankets, and feel better in the morning.  Cheers!

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