When a new health food trend hits, it’s not long before it makes its way into salads, chia seed puddings and yup, even kombucha. This month, it’s the elderberry, a berry that grows on the Sambucus flower in South America. But if the name sounds familiar, that’s because elderberries have long been hailed by herbalists for their immunity-boosting properties. In their dried form (hello, soothing teas), the naturally tart berries become slightly less bitter. And when cooked down into syrups and sauces, they take on a subtle sweetness. So go ahead and beat around the bush — these elderberry recipes are healthfully yours.
6 Delicious Elderberry Recipes to Boost Your Health
Dense pound cake is hard to beat, but add the complex flavors of strawberries and elderberries, and your recipe will be next level. And while a slice of this sweet loaf is definitely a treat, the ingredient list is short so you know exactly what you’re putting into your body. Elderberry is incorporated via the syrup, but it also makes a beautiful floral finish for your eyes and taste buds (it’s edible!). Photo and recipe: Anna / Serving Dumplings
The natural fizzing that occurs in kombucha makes it a healthy homemade alternative to soda. This recipe is incredibly simple and calls for few ingredients. Dried elderberries, lavender, honey and ginger are infused into a jar of kombucha. Ginger lends a spicy, tangy flavor, while honey adds a hint of sweetness. The result is the perfect refreshing sipper. Photo and recipe: Loriel / Naturally Loriel
This gorgeous dessert is almost too pretty to eat! You’ll be happy you dug in when your taste buds get a lick of flaky the crust and the bold flavor of the blackberry-elderberry curd. Hemp seeds and rice flour make the crust extra dense and pack it with fiber and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Heating the blackberries in a saucepan helps thicken the sauce and turn it into a gooey mixture. Photo and recipe: Laura Muthesius & Nora Eisermann / Our Food Story
If you’re bored with your usual breakfast bowl, this is just what you need. Pairing elderberry and matcha (another amazing source of antioxidants and heart-healthy polyphenols) makes a feast for your eyes and your mouth. Chia seeds turn into a thick gel-like mixture after you combine it with water, which makes it a filling meal. Photo and recipe: Ksenia Avdulova / Breakfast Criminals
Beets, walnuts and Parmesan slivers are an unlikely but delicious combination in this cranberry-elderberry vinaigrette. Plus, beets provide a heavy dose of potassium for nerve and muscle health. The sweet berry dressing is also great as an alternative to cranberry sauce. Photo and recipe: Ann Lenhardt / Norm’s Farms
This pairing may seem offbeat, but sometimes it’s the funky duos that taste the best. Here, the chicken is browned and then added to a boiling pot for poaching. This helps keep the chicken tender and retain its natural flavor and juiciness. And for the elderberries? They make a delicious gravy that marinates the chicken and gives it an aromatic taste. Photo and recipe: Charles Schlussel / Food & Spirits