Packed with protein and immune boosting and gut healing micronutrients, this elderberry gummies recipe is one of our family’s favorite snacks!
Why Elderberry Gummies?
To be completely honest, I am not a big fan of snacks. Most of the typical snack foods are not very high in nutrients. What’s more, standard snacks are typically only a source of carbohydrates and are lacking in fat and protein. In order to keep blood sugar stable, I try to make sure our meals and snacks are well balanced to include carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
But sometimes life calls for a snack. Especially when you have young kids and errands ran longer than expected. A snack can be just the thing to quell all the looming meltdowns.
I wanted to have something on hand that I could easily whip out in case of these emergencies. That’s when we took the elderberry syrup that we had made earlier in the year from foraged elderberries, added some gelatin, and the most delicious snack was created.
These elderberry gummies are perfectly balanced with nutrient rich carbohydrates, gut healing protein and can easily be thrown in a little container and tossed in your purse for any need that arises.
What are Elderberries?
Elderberries grow from the elder plant, which is a large shrub that can grow up to 30 feet tall. Where we live in the Midwest, elder plants grow very well and you can find their berries almost anywhere; in forests, along paths, and even the ditches along the side of the road.
The berries of the elder, or elderberries, are not to be eaten raw. They are poisonous when they are uncooked and can cause digestive distress.
However, when cooked properly, these berries are a powerhouse of nutrition and have been long known for their powerful medicinal and healing properties. Elderberries contain vitamin C, vitamin A, bioflavonoids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, beta carotene, iron, potassium, and phytosterols. They are known for their immune boosting and anti-viral properties making them a perfect remedy for colds, flus, and have been known for working well in treating upper respiratory infections.
One of our family’s favorite late summer activities is to forage for elderberries.
We will keep extra bags in our car for when the right opportunity arises. When we spot a good patch of easy to grab elderberries in an area suitable for foraging, we pile out of the care and go to town collecting elderberries. Our preferred method is the cut the whole branch where the berries are from the stem and put them in a grocery bag. Once our bag is full, we put it in our freezer.
Then, after we’ve collected several bags full of elderberries, we’ll make up a huge batch of elderberry syrup. My go to recipe for elderberry syrup comes from Rosemary Gladstar’s book Medicinal Herbs A beginner’s Guide.
A helpful tidbit we learned along the way is that the berries shake off their stems much easier when they are frozen so we take them directly from frozen to make our elderberry syrup. Elderberry syrup is our favorite way to transform elderberries but other good options are jams or wine.
All about Gelatin
Until we delved on the real food journey, my only framework for gelatin was the funky, brightly colored jello dishes that showed up on the tables at potlucks. But gelatin is actually an incredibly healing and health promoting food.
Gelatin is clear and flavorless. It is made from the collagen found in animal bones, skin, and tissues. Gelatin is a powerhouse of protein containing up to 18 different amino acids but is particularly packed with glycine, proline, and alanine.
The Benefits of Gelatin
- Beneficial for digestion
- Decreases joint inflammation
- Supports restorative sleep
- Aids in the healing of the gut lining
Gelatin is hydrophilic (water loving) so it attracts liquids. In the stomach, it draws in digestive juices that then help you break down food. The more digestive juices that there are, the better food is broken down and the better your body is able to absorb the nutrients from that food!
How to Include Gelatin in Your Diet
My preferred methods to get gelatin are either through making gelatin rich homemade bone broth, which I love to sip on every morning. My favorite cuts of meat for cooking bone broth to make it rich in gelatin are by using a whole chicken or chicken feet, pork hocks, and beef soup bones.
Or, to buy gelatin powder which can then be used in a ton of fun dishes – like this elderberry gummies recipe. If you are purchasing gelatin powder, my preferred sourcing is Great Lakes Gelatin.
Other fun recipes for including gelatin besides gummies are in homemade marshmallows, soups, custards, puddings, or mousses.
Elderberry Gummies Recipe Tips and Tricks
You will want to make sure your elderberry syrup is heated up before adding the gelatin. If the elderberry syrup is cold, it will immediately gel and you will not be able to pour it into your molds. The elderberry gummies should be stored in the fridge and served within 1-2 weeks. If removed on a warm day and out for a significant amount of time, the gummies can melt.
Elderberry Gummies Recipe
- Wooden Spoon
- Small sauce pan
- Silicone molds (alternative you can use a greased muffin tin or pour them in an 8×8 baking pan and cut into squares)
- ¼ cup Gelatin
- 1 cup Elderberry Syrup
- A few tbsp – ¼ cup of honey or maple syrup (optional)*
- Pour elderberry syrup into saucepan and heat at low to medium heat until the syrup is warmed through.
- Once warmed add in ¼ cup of gelatin and stir quickly to avoid clumping. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved in syrup.
- Once dissolved, remove from stove and add in honey or maple syrup if you choose to add those.
- Pour into silicone molds (or greased muffin tins or baking dish)
- Refrigerate until your elderberry gummies are firm and store in the refrigerator.
Elderberry Gummies Recipe Notes
*If your Elderberry Syrup is already plenty sweet, adding additional honey or maple syrup may not be necessary. I like to make my elderberry syrup less sweet so I typically add ¼ cup of honey to our elderberry gummies.
Looking for more options for a well-balanced treat? Check out this delicious recipe for chocolate pudding!
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