Guest Post: Elderberry Syrup with Alexis Siemons of teaspoons & petals

I’m off on a much-needed vacation this week with my husband Scott. While we wander the wilds of Lancaster County, PA, a few of my favorite bloggers will be dropping by to keep you entertained. First up is Alexis Siemons from the gorgeous blog teaspoons & petals. A freelance writer and tea consultant, she writes evocatively of tea and its many accompaniments. Today Alexis has a recipe for elderberry syrup and the perfect chilled tea to pair with it.

Warm days are fleeting as fall is creeping into the leaves and cooling the air. In hopes of holding on to summer just a bit longer, I’ve been steeping floral tea blends. The blossoming aromas of White Rose, Lavender & Mint and Jasmine Pearls are filling my kitchen with fresh-from-the-garden scents.

During a recent trip to a local spice shop, I perused the $1 basket in search of a new flavor. I love to close my eyes and reach in for a surprise find. This time, I jumped for joy when I saw a petite bag of dried elderberries lingering in the basket. While I’ve often tasted drinks mixed with the sweet berry, I’ve never brought them into my tea lab (a.k.a my kitchen counter).

In hopes of pairing the earthy berries with a fragrant tea, I decided to make an elderberry syrup to mix with the smooth, perfumed notes of Jasmine Pearls green tea. Combining the berries with water in a pot, the syrup had started to simmer on the stove. Before moving on to the steep, I took a moment to watch the tiny elderberries paint the water a deep eggplant shade.

The kettle began to sing its sweet song and I carefully spooned the delicate tea pearls into the infuser. (FYI the green tea leaves are naturally scented with fresh jasmine flowers and then hand-rolled into tiny pearls-a true art!). After the water had slightly cooled to a gentle steam, I poured it over the pearls and watched them tumble about in the infuser, slowly unfurling and releasing their jasmine fragrance.

The tea cooled on the counter as the berries finished their simmering dance. I strained them with a fine mesh infuser, squeezing out every drop of juice with a spoon. Normally when making a syrup you might use a 1:1 ratio of water to sweetener, but I prefer lighter syrups (only ½ cup of honey) that let the tea flavor still shine. I slowly stirred in summer amber pure honey from Two Gander Farm in Fleetwood, PA. The richness of the summer amber honey was a sweet companion to the earthy berries. After the syrup and tea had cooled, I poured them into a glass jar and bottle and let them chill in the fridge overnight.

Waking with a craving for a lightly sweetened sip, I headed to my fridge. The glass jar of the regal, deep purple elderberry syrup caught my eye. I poured the sweet and floral jasmine green tea into a tiny jar and stirred in a few spoonfuls of the syrup. Before adding a sprig of mint, I stole a sip. The smooth and refreshing green tea balanced the deep, earthy flavor of the elderberry syrup. The floral notes lingered on the palate as I watched summer start to fade from the window.

Recipes for the elderberry syrup and chilled tea after the jump…

Elderberry Syrup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup dried elderberries

Instructions

  1. Add water and elderberries to a pot on the stove and bring it to a rolling boil. Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Strain the berries and pour the liquid into a bowl. Stir in the honey. Pour into jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Best if used within the week.
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Chilled Jasmine Pearls Green Tea:

Ingredients

  • Water
  • Jasmine Pearls

Instructions

  1. Add fresh, cold (preferably filtered) water to a tea kettle. Heat to 175° (bring to a boil and them let cool for 7 minutes). Add Jasmine pearls to infuser (1 teaspoon of Jasmine Pearls per 8oz of water). Steep for 2 minutes. Remove infuser (can be resteeped 1-2 more times, so set aside to resteep later). Pour into pitcher and chill in refrigerator.
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8 Responses to Guest Post: Elderberry Syrup with Alexis Siemons of teaspoons & petals

  1. 1
    Sofya says:

    Love it! We have (get this) 30 elderberry trees growing on our farm! (We’ve planted them deliberately). I love making syrup as well. As a matter of fact they are ripe right now and I want to do juice concentrate this year. (We mostly sell them tho).

  2. 2
    Mary Ann says:

    Elderberries are very tart, not the least bit sweet. Could there be another type?

  3. 3
    alexis says:

    Hi Mary Ann, I really have only tasted elderberries in simple syrup mixes. I’m guessing that their tart notes were slightly masked by the sweeteners. I’ll be sure to try the steeped liquid before adding the honey next time. Thanks!

  4. 4
    EB says:

    A “tea consultant”? What an awesome job description!

  5. 5

    wow that sounds fantastic.. I might drop into your blog to look at other teas as well.. you write so lovingly of your tastes and scents.. wonderful

  6. 6
    alexis says:

    Thanks for the kind words Cecilia. Please do drop in and let me know if you have any tea questions :)

  7. 7

    We used to get a lovely syrup in the UK made with elderflowers. Is that from the same plant?

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