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I’m sharing a fast and easy way to make immune-boosting elderberry juice from fresh elderberries. Be ready for cold and flu season this year!

Text of "how to make elderberry juice" over a picture of elderberries and elderberry juice in bottles

Do you get a little anxious when fall rolls around knowing that cold and flu season is about to hit? The coughs, sniffles, sore throats and body aches seem to roll in like clockwork. Ugh – I don’t even like thinking about it!

That’s why I have some secret weapons that I’ve been utilizing for my family the last few years. Want to know what they are?

The first one is my collection of natural cold and flu remedies that you can make at home with herbs. I love these!

The second secret is elderberry juice and let me tell you – it is simply amazing!

Whenever someone in my family feels like they are coming down with something, I pull out the elderberry juice and in short order everyone is feeling better. Seriously! It seems to prevent a full blown illness if you can catch it quickly or helps shorten the duration and severity of an illness.

Elderberry juice is a total must-have all year long, but especially during the winter months.

Bottles of juice in pint jars on a kitchen counter

Why You’ll Love Elderberry Juice

Making your own elderberry juice is the best way to take advantage of the health benefits of elderberries. Yes, you can buy elderberry juice or syrup, but it’s expensive. You also can’t control what goes into a store-bought juice or syrup.

By making your own elderberry juice you’ll save money, control the ingredients and feel good about what you’re consuming.

And did I mention that making your own elderberry juice is quick and easy? Because it is! It also tastes great!

Health Benefits of Elderberries

Elderberries are amazing! The elder berry plant’s scientific name is Sambucus nigra and they are very common. You’ll often find them growing wild throughout much of North America and Europe.

A bundle of fresh elderberries and bottles of elderberry juice with brown labels

People have been using elderberries for hundreds of years to boost the immune system and fight off illnesses – particularly cold and flu symptoms. I really liked this article called What is Elderberry Good For? from Very Well Health that talks about the benefits of elderberries.

Elderberries are a fantastic source for antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, iron, potassium and other important nutrients. They can be a great part of your personal wellness routine!

How to Harvest Elderberries

If you’re interested in harvesting wild elderberries, the most important thing to do it make sure that you positively identify the elderberry plant and be sure that it is edible before you begin. You don’t want to take chances here! We used a plant identifying app and lots of research to help us with this step. If you know a someone in your area that is familiar with the plant – ask them!

People harvesting wild berries from a tree

We harvested wild Blue Elderberries (S. cerulea) that grow along roadsides and in fields near our home. Using garden clippers, we snipped off the little bundles of berries and brought them home to process. They are so beautiful! I even used them in my fall decorating.

Ingredients and Equipment for Making Elderberry Juice

After harvesting, it’s time to gather the juice-making supplies. To make this elderberry juice you will need:

  • fresh elderberries, washed thoroughly
  • a steam juicer
  • clean jars or bottles for your juice
  • a way to label your jars or bottles

How to Make Elderberry Juice from Fresh Elderberries

Picture showing clipping off berry stems before juicing

To process our fresh elderberries into juice, we pulled out our steam juicer. Steam juicing is the quickest and easiest way I’ve found to process those little berries. In fact, it’s my favorite way to juice any fruit. If you don’t have a steam juicer, you should get one! I think it’s well worth the investment.

A steam juicer sits on a stainless steel stove top

First, we clipped the elderberry clusters off of the bigger stems. We left a small amount of stems in our pot, but if you want them all removed you can flash freeze your berry bundles and then roll them in your hands to make the berries fall off the stems.

Next, we processed our elderberries in our steam juicer according to the manufacturer instructions. This process was quick and easy because those little berries don’t take much time to extract.

As the liquid juice came out, we directed it into pint and quart-sized canning jars.

Juice coming out of a steam juicer into bottles

Storing Your Juice

I like to store my elderberry juice in pint-sized canning or bottling jars. To extend the shelf life of my juice and allow me to store them in the pantry, I also bottle them using a water bath method. This is just personal preference. You can also store your elderberry juice in the fridge for several days or pour it into freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to several months.

If you do bottle your elderberry juice, be sure to use an approved and tested method from a reputable source to avoid any problems.

Labeled bottles of elderberry juice on a kitchen counter

Using Dried Elderberries to Make Juice

I know some of you are probably wondering if you can use dried elderberries rather than fresh berries to make juice. The answer is yes!

My sister Marci and I wrote an article about how to make pressure cooker elderberry syrup using dried berries. We use that elderberry syrup in the same way as this juice – to boost the immune system and fight off illness.

That recipe includes a few other ingredients like fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, cloves and raw honey for flavoring and extra thickness. Typically, when prepared like this it is called a “syrup” rather than “juice”. You can always simmer these extra ingredients with your fresh juice, if you desire.

It’s a great elderberry syrup recipe and you should definitely check it out if you are wanting to use dried elderberries rather than fresh.

How to Dose Elderberry Juice

There is no standard recommended dose for elderberry juice. This article from Healthline about using elderberry to treat colds and flues suggests two teaspoons of elderberry syrup daily, and this article about elderberries from Very Well Health suggests one tablespoon four times a day.

Jars of elderberry juice are lined up on a table

Opinions on this matter differ. If you are interested in taking elderberry juice for illness prevention, you should consult your doctor about a recommended dose, possible drug interactions and any other concerns you may have.


Are elderberries toxic?

Cooked elderberries are not toxic. Uncooked elderberries, leaves, stems and roots contain glycosides that can produce vomiting, nausea, diarrhea or even coma. That’s why it is important to cook your elderberry juice and strain the seeds out before consuming.

What else can I use elderberries for?

Aside from this juice, you could use elderberries to make elderberry extract, elderberry syrup for pancakes or waffles, elderberry jam, or elderberry gummies.

Where can I get elderberries?

You can harvest your own elderberries after safely identifying them. You can also sometimes find dried elderberries as the grocery store or from online retailers.

Can I buy elderberry juice?

Yes, but it tends to be quite expensive. It’s not always easy to find and is often filled with sugar and additives. That’s why I love making my own elderberry juice. I did find this elderberry juice for sale on Amazon if you are interested in purchasing your juice.

Can I make this elderberry juice into syrup?

Yes, you’ll probably want to add a sweetener and a thickening agent like honey to make it thicker for syrup.

What does elderberry juice taste like?

Without added sugar or spices, elderberry juice tastes similar to a super tart grape juice. I think it’s pretty good! Kids may enjoy drinking it more if there are added spices and a natural sweetener.

Are there other methods for juicing elderberries?

Yes. Checkout this article from Oklahoma State University call Extracting Juice for Jelly for instructions about how to boil or simmer fruit and strain through cheesecloth to get juice.

Please keep in mind that I am not a trained medical provider and the claims in this article are not FDA approved. Please do your own research and consult with your physician about any natural remedies you may be interested in trying.

Explore Other All Natural Immune-Boosting Remedies

I hope you’ll give this elderberry juice a try! It’s my favorite way to kick illness to the curb and keep my family feeling healthy.

Close up of berries and juice in pint jars with brown labels

I love the idea of using a natural, home remedy whenever possible. If you feel the same way, then you might be interested in reading some of my other content about all natural immune-boosting remedies. Please enjoy!

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