In early 2015 I was a stay at home mom to a beautiful 8 month old child, with a growing desire for some kind of creative outlet. Now that I’ve said that the nice way, let me rephrase that and tell you that I was practically ripping my hair out with wild, dangerous eyes searching for something, ANYTHING, to give me a connection to the outside world. It was a long winter spent mostly indoors; the snow that year was unbelievable and we were one of the lucky folks who had to deal with the aftermath of an ice dam on our roof. I was keeping myself busy with all the never-ending tasks that come with motherhood and homemaking, but I was desperate to do something for myself (it would be another 6 months before the opportunity to purchase The Healing Center came around). So I started a blog.
I stopped writing after a handful of posts, but always planned to go back. Whoops! Yeah, that never happened. I never wrote there again, but every so often I would get a new comment and that kept the connection open. Recently I had two different comments on my most popular post (about making vegan elderberry gummies with a pig mold) alerting me to the fact that the link to the original recipe was no longer working. I finally found a few minutes to go investigate, and was able to fix the link. I reread the whole post, and decided it deserved a resurrection on a platform that I’m still actively using. So if you’ve been on the edge of your seat eager to read all about how I made gelatinous vegan pigs 4 years ago, your wait is over!
From Hiccups & Headstands 2/28/15
Taking a small daily dose of elderberry syrup is a great way to support your immune system, as it contains vitamins and antioxidants. These berries have actually been used medicinally for hundreds of years, but probably most notably in 1995 when the juice was used to treat an influenza epidemic in Panama. I think that is so cool!
The only problem I have run into regarding elderberry syrup is the price for a bottle. It is not cheap! On Amazon you can buy a 4 oz bottle for nearly $12. If you are taking the recommended 2 tsp dose for daily maintenance, you are going to run out very quickly. The best solution is to just make some yourself!
I bought a pound of dried organic elderberries for just under $20, and the recipe I used (here) only called for a half cup to make the syrup! I ended up with about 2 cups of the syrup, or enough to fill a small mason jar. (This picture below was taken after I used part of the syrup for the other recipe in this post!)
That’s 16 oz of syrup: already 4 times the amount in the ready-made bottle. So believe me, it’s worth it! I did use agave instead of honey to make the syrup vegan, but I stuck to the rest of the recipe pretty much word for word.
I decided to use part of my new homemade syrup in another recipe to add some variety: I made vegan gummies! Here is the base recipe I worked off of (which I have used in the past and had great results) but here are the alterations I made:
1 1/2 cups tart cherry juice
1/2 cup homemade elderberry syrup
1 1/2 tsp agar powder
Whisk the liquids and powder together in a small sauce pan on high heat, and bring to a boil for just a couple of minutes. Don’t let it boil over or you will have a gelatinous mess on your hands (been there, done that). I used tart cherry juice in place of the white grape because of the remarkable health benefits from the tart cherry (anti inflammatory, antioxidants, better sleep, to name a few), plus I didn’t want to use anything that would make the gummies any sweeter than they would already be with the elderberry syrup made with agave.
I poured the mixture into a measuring glass so that I had a spout, and then filled up my pig molds. I popped them in the fridge for a couple of hours to let them set and get jello-like. Since I made these specifically as a different way to quickly take in some elderberry goodness, I chose not to add any chopped fruit like that linked recipe suggests. I do recommend it though, when making the regular jello!
I was ecstatic when I found that original base recipe because I had no clue there was something so simple out there that could be used to make vegan jello. On top of that I now have a great go-to recipe for making my healthy immune boosting gummies.