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Elderberry Wine

Chandramita Bora Feb 14, 2020
Elderberry wine strengthens the immune system, and treats or prevents cold and flu. The wine prepared from elderberries has been subjected to several studies to find out its potential health benefits. Let's find out more about this wine, and its healing properties.
The elderberry plant is a member of the genus Sambucus, which includes around 30 species of small trees and shrubs. The genus Sambucus is native to the temperate and subtropical regions of both the Northern and the Southern Hemisphere.
Elderberry has been a part of folk or traditional medicine of Europe, North America, Western Asia, and North Africa, much before modern science has revealed its medicinal properties.
The ancient Egyptians used the plant and its flowers to heal burns, while early Indian tribes included the berries in tea and other beverages. But wine was first prepared from the berries in the 17th century.
And the British were the first to claim that this wine could cure the common cold. In modern times, elderberries and the wine prepared from them have become a subject of many scientific investigations.

The Goodness of Elderberry Wine

Elderberries are a rich source of vitamin A, B, C, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, quercetin, rutin, tannins, and viburnic acid. The berries got their dark color due to the presence of anthocyanin and bioflavonoids.
All these compounds account for the therapeutic properties of elderberries and the wine prepared from them. Here are the most noteworthy benefits of elderberries and elderberry wine:
  • It contains compounds like flavonoids, quercetin, and anthocyanin, which are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants can help minimize the cellular damage caused by the highly reactive free radicals. This in turn, can help prevent a number of disases, including cancer.
  • The wine prepared from elderberries can invigorate the immune system, and enhance its ability to fight infectious agents, including viruses.
  • The immune boosting properties of elderberries can help treat and alleviate the symptoms of common cold and flu. In 1995, elderberry juice was used in Panama to control a flu epidemic.
  • The berries have been found to exhibit antiviral properties. The flavonoids found in the berries can activate certain immune cells that can destroy viruses. On the other hand, the compound 'lectin' found in the berries, have been found to inhibit the replication of certain strains of the influenza virus in laboratory studies.
  • Elderberries and their extracts can lower the level of cholesterol in the body, and minimize the effects of harmful LDL cholesterol. This can help improve the health of the heart and the cardiovascular system.
  • Apart from these, the ripe berries and their extracts can provide relief in cough, congestion, asthma, tonsillitis, inflammation of the urinary tract and the bladder, and viral and bacterial infections.

How to Make Wine from Elderberries?

It is not difficult to make elderberry wine, and considering all the health benefits of this, it is definitely worth trying. You will need some good ripe berries. Clean these berries properly to remove any kind of debris, along with the stems. Boil about a gallon of water, add sugar to it. Keep stirring the water until the sugar dissolves completely.
Then put the berries in a nylon straining bag, tie the end, and mash the berries with a potato masher. Put the mashed berries along with the nylon bag in a container, and pour the sugar water into the container.
Cover the container, and allow the mixture to cool down, after which add acid blend, yeast nutrient, and crushed Campden tablets into it. Cover the container, and leave it undisturbed for about 12 hours.
After 12 hours, add pectic enzyme into the container, and stir it properly. Then cover the container for another 12 hours. Now, you can add yeast into the mixture. Continue stirring the blend daily for about 2 weeks, i.e., for 14 days.
Before stirring, do not forget to squeeze the elderberry bag. Be sure to cover the container each time after stirring. After two weeks, strain the juice into a second container, and fit an airlock.
Store this container in a dark place for about two months to facilitate fermentation. Rack the wine and airlock it for two more times, and then allow it to stabilize. After ten days, rack it again and sweeten it. Now, pour the wine into bottles, and store them in a dark place for about 6 months before drinking.
Remember to not overindulge in wine, as its excessive consumption can cause several health problems. Apart from wine, you can enjoy the berries, or make tea, juice, and other extracts from them. However, be sure to avoid the unripe berries, which contain a mildly toxic compound, known as sambunigrin.
The leaves, seeds, and the roots of the elderberry plant also contain a compound, known as glycoside, which if taken in excess can release cyanide in our body. So, these plant parts should be avoided.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.