In my yard resides a beautiful gnarly grapevine. It grows along my fence and at times threatens to overtake a lovely Italian plum tree I have planted there. Every year perfect full bunches of grapes form all along the vine. In the Autumn they hang heavy, deeply purple and full of seeds. Their flavor is intense and beautiful, almost too much to sit and munch on for longer than a few minutes.
I never know exactly how to harvest the goodness of this amazing grapevine. This year I made up a batch of jam, so deeply purple, it is almost black. Now the weather turns frosty, the leaves are all gone from the vine yet the grapes cling and are calling to me to be eaten, to be cherished and made into something divine.
I have a wise friend who offered up wonderful idea of creating a lovely medicinal syrup all full of the goodness of grapes and made with whatever herbs there happens to be on hand, such as echinacea, elecampane, lemon balm and mint. (I love recipes that use up what is “on hand”!)
The instructions are simple ~ Cook up the grapes in a big pot. Cover them with water and add the herbs on top. The drain and strain it into a big bowl. Add some honey to sweeten and preserve. Bottle and enjoy. Perfect for sipping and gifting to friends and family.
~ Perfect Herbs For Your Own Grape Syrup ~
This is just a small list of herbs that would lend themselves well to a tasty grape syrup. Be creative!
Lemon Balm is a wonderful antiviral and a relaxing nervine that is high in vitamins and minerals with a lovely flavor.
Lycium Berries are a tonic for the liver and blood. They have long been used for promoting longevity. They are so tasty too!
Echinacea stimulates the immune system and is great for creating a strong response against impending illness, use the root, leaves and flowers!
St. John’s Wort is another nice antiviral. It soothes and strengthens the nervous system helping to ease anxiety and depression. St. John’s will also strongly stimulate liver detox which helps to clear stress hormones from the blood.
Elderberries are a tasty herb with a specific action against the flu virus. They also help to relax the nervous system.
Elecampane strengthens the lungs and digestive system. It helps the body fight off infection.
Dandelion Root is wonderfully nourishing to the liver gently stimulating detoxification.
Burdock Root stimulates the digestion while promoting lymphatic circulation.
Calendula Blossoms help to break-up lymphatic congestion while reducing inflammation and soothing tissues.
Schizandra Berries are a wonderful adaptogen helping the body to deal with stress better. Schizandra also nourishes the liver, lungs and immune system.
Astragalus is an immune tonic that helps to create an immune shield to ward off illness and treat long-term infections (don’t use during the first 5 to 6 days of acute illness) and is indicated for those who suffer from frequent colds and flus.
Holy Basil is an herbal adaptogen which helps the body, mind and spirit deal better with stress. It also helps the body fight off infections.
Codonopsis is sometimes called poor man’s ginseng. It is moistening and strengthening to the whole body in particular helping to build the blood, soothe dry lungs and chronic coughs.
Hawthorn Berries nourish, strengthen and protect the heart and indeed it is a tonic for the heart.
…. and of course Grapes! Did you know that grapes are medicinal? Grapes with dark purply skins are chock full of antioxidants including the much loved resveratrol which provides heart healthy protection by lowering HDL and preventing platelet aggregation. Grapes are also full of healthy vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbable. They help to build the blood and strengthen immunity.
Find top quality herbs for blending your own grape syrup at Mountain Rose Herbs*!
~ My Own Recipe From This Year's Harvest ~
4 cups Grapes, washed and sorted and stemmed
mounding ¼ cup each Lycium Berries, Lemon Balm, Cordyceps, Holy Basil, Hawthorn Berries
½ cup fluffy Calendula Flowers
18 small slices of Astragalus
water to cover, about 6 cups
2 cups of Honey
Instructions ~ Place the grapes in a large pot. Add the herbs and cover with water to about 1 inch of water over the herbs. Simmer for 1 to 4 hours, adding more water if necessary. Once everything softens up, give it all a good smash with a potato masher. Strain out the solids pressing the liquid through a strainer. Add honey while still warm and stir while it melts in. Bottle, label and refrigerate. Your syrup should last for 2 to 3 months in the fridge.
~ Make Your Syrup Into A Herbal Elixir ~
If you want to create something extra tasty use brandy to preserve your syrup. Follow the directions above for creating a syrup but substitute brandy for the honey or use a combination of brandy and honey together, delish!
~ Ways To Use Grape Syrup ~
Add to a cup of hot water to make tea.
Add to seltzer or mineral water for a fizzy, soda pop-like treat.
Sip by the spoonful for an immune boost.
Use on pancakes, waffles or ice cream.
My wise friend who told me about this amazing recipe also happens to be an incredible astrologist and a very wise woman indeed! Visit her at Jyoti Wind Astrology.
Before You Go...
I want to let you know about a wonderful little series of posts I have been working on. I have been busy formulating and making all kinds of loveliness to share with you! Starting next week I will be sharing 2 posts each week full of ideas for making your own herbal holiday gifts!
From herbal baths and foot butters to herbal liquors and tasty cookies to cinnamon wrapped candles there is sure to be something that gets you in the mood for holiday crafting and gift giving!
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* Please Note: This post contains affiliate links to Mountain Rose Herbs. Mountain Rose Herbs offers the best quality bulk herbs and supplies online. If you choose to use my affiliate link to purchase from them you will be supporting Mama Rosemary and all I do here. I will get a small percentage of your purchase however this does not in any way affect your purchase price. Thanks for supporting Mama Rosemary and happy herb crafting!