Making a winter tonic from foraged berries

There are many types of wild berries available to collect in August. I have been foraging in my local area and have found an abundance of blackberries, elderberries, rowan berries and hawthorn berries. The blackberries and elderberries are the most common and abundant and can be found in many hedgerows throughout the UK. This blackberry vinegar recipe is very simple to make and will give you a potent winter tonic packed full of antioxidants and vitamins to keep your immune system in peak condition over the winter months.

Different types of berries have different properties, so you can tailor your tonic to your specific requirements, for example hawthorn berries are a natural heart medicine, helping with circulation, blood pressure, hypertension, palpitations, arrhythmia and valvular insufficiency. These berries are also a good treatment for arthritis, fractures, and osteoporosis. For more information on hawthorn see this website.

Rowan berries come from the mountain ash tree and can often be found along UK hedgerows, in parks and local fields. We have 3 of them behind our house and they are full of berries. Rowan Berry is an all to forgotten super food, it has the ability to reduce and resolve types of Type-2 diabetes, with more antioxidants than blueberry, more beta-C than carrot and more vitamin C than orange. You can find lots of information on these berries if you search online, do not be put off by their bright red colour. You can pick the berries in August, however they are unripe at this time of year, they ripen under frost so cleaning them, de-stalking and placing in the freezer in a container will help to ripen them up and you can store them this way until you are ready to process them into a tonic or tincture.

Blackberries and elderberries also contain high amounts of antioxidants and vitamin c, making these berries the perfect choice for an immune boosting winter tonic. Here is a simple recipe for making a tonic from berries, vinegar and sugar that can be stored in bottles and drank neat or diluted with water.

Blackberry Vinegar Recipe

Gather your berries, stalk them and put them in a glass bowl. Cover with either Apple Cider Vinegar or you can use Malt Vinegar if you wish. I used Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in my tonic.
Cover and allow them to stand for 3-5 days.
Strain the mixture through a sieve, drain thoroughly, I filled the sieve with the berries and used the back of a spoon to squash them a little and then I covered and left them to drip for most of the day to ensure that all the juice was collected.
Measure the liquid and weigh our 1 pound of sugar for every pint of liquid, I used unrefined brown sugar.
Then pour the liquid through a clean sieve into a large pan, this is to ensure that any remaining seeds or stalks have been removed. Add the sugar and heat the liquid, allowing the liquid to simmer for 5 minutes, skimming off any scum from the top as it heats.
Allow the liquid to cool and bottle.

I have used this recipe to make 2 different tonics using blackberries and an elderberries.

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