It is hard to believe that the summer is over after a spectacular September (the driest on record) we are into October with still mild days and cool nights that invites you to light a turf fire and sip from a Waterford Crystal tumbler, the liquid gold that is Irish Whiskey. The landscape is reminiscent of Donegal Tweed, a mixture of mother natures own Pantone color chart. There are still a few visitors to the island, bird watchers catching their last glimpse of the migrating birds, school groups coming to immerse themselves in the Irish Language, and lone travelers escaping the chaos of urban dwelling, enjoying the beauty and serenity that Aran offers at this time of year.
As the leaves begin to change, if not with the spectacular display that one finds in New England. Some of the trees are offering their final fruits as gifts of the autumn harvest. The elder berries glistening deep ruby are plentiful this year. The berries are a good source of vitamins A,B, and C along with antioxidants, Iron, and potassium making it an essential remedy to keep colds and flu at bay during the winter months.
½ pound of Elderberries
1 pound of Demerara
2 Cinnamon Sticks
Pick the Elderberries, avoid leaves and stalks; as these can be toxic. The best way to get the berries off the stalk is by using a fork. Rinse the berries in cold water to remove any small insects. In a pan, add the berries, just enough water to cover them. Bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes. The liquid will be deep purple. Be careful with the liquid as it stains (the juice was once used as a dye for wool) Strain using a fine sieve pulping the berries in the sieve to extract the remaining juices. In a clean saucepan add the liquid, sugar, lemon juice, cloves and cinnamon. Boil for 15 minutes stirring constantly so as to dissolve all the sugar. Let it cool before putting into sterilized bottles. Store in the fridge or some place cool. To use, dilute with hot of cold water or add to your favorite white wine in front of a roaring fire warding the winter blues away.