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How to Make a Homemade Elderflower Oxymel

Originally published on June, 5th 2022. Last updated on June 13th, 2022 Skip to Recipe

Starting in late April through the end of June, the Southern California Elder Trees are covered with Elderflower blooms. These blooms are magnificent! Not only are they gorgeous, but nature also shares her medicine with us through these elderflowers and their fruiting elderberries. Every year, I look forward to harvesting these elderflowers to make my homemade elderflower oxymel. I’m so excited to share this recipe with you so you can experience the magic of nature firsthand.

Close up of the foraged basket of elderflowers
blue elderflowers (Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea)

Foraging for Elderflowers

Before we get started, let’s touch on a few guidelines for foraging elderflowers. If you are blessed enough to forage for these elderflowers, make sure to follow these guidelines in order not to overharvest, or damage the gifts that nature provides. To be honest, there aren’t a lot of plants I feel comfortable enough to forage for right now due to the intense drought we are in on the West Coast. It’s been catastrophic and entire ecosystems have been affected.

With that being said, the first guideline is to make sure to only pick a maximum of 5-10% of the flowers on each tree or shrub. These flowers will eventually turn into another healing gift of elderberries. We want to make sure to leave enough flowers so elderberries can grow. These elderberries also make an amazing elderberry oxymel.

Not only are elderberries medicinal for us, but they are also food for birds as well. We also don’t want to over harvest the tree so it can survive for long. You also don’t need that many elderflowers to make an elderflower oxymel.

The other key point when foraging for elderflowers is to make sure to check out the surroundings. You don’t want to forage for elderflowers near a heavily polluted area or that could leave other toxins in your oxymel.

The ingredients to make an elderflower oxymel
elderflowers, apple cider vinegar & honey
Topping off the elderflowers
topping off the oxymel with elderflowers

Making your Elderflower Oxymel

Making your own Elderflower Oxymel is easy peasy! All you need is elderflowers, apple cider vinegar, and honey.

First, you place the elderflowers into a glass jar. Next you pour in your desired amount of honey. I usually use around a cup of honey. The honey makes the oxymel sweet and delicious for a relaxing drink! Finish by filling the rest of the jar with apple cider vinegar.

Once you have mixed together with the elderflower oxymel, set the jar in a dark cool spot and let it infuse for 3-4 weeks. If you want more of the medicinal benefits of the elderflowers, you can make a second ferment. To make a second ferment, add in more elderflowers to your oxymel and let it ferment for another 2-3 weeks. Personally, I really enjoyed the subtle tones of the oxymel in the first batch.

Finished oxymel, ready to steep
almost finished elderflower oxymel
The mixture of the oxymel
elderflower oxymel
Stirring the elderflower oxymel
stirring elderflower oxymel

How to use an Elderflower Oxymel?

You’ve made your Elderflower Oxymel, now what? You can use your Elderflower Oxymel on its own to make use of the benefits, just take it by the tablespoon full. My other favorites are using an oxymel in a salad dressing, or as a base for an Elderflower cocktail or mocktail! You’ll get a refreshing, and delicious boost to anything you add your oxymel to.

Elderflower Oxymel Benefits

There are many benefits to using a homemade elderflower oxymel. The oxymel is helpful for respiratory ailments. It’s also used to treat the common cold and flu. This oxymel is really easy to make and I make sure to always have it on hand to help increase and build immunity when needed.

More Elderflower and Elderberry Recipes

Close up of the oxymel ready to steep
Sealed elderflower oxymel ready to steep
straining the elderflower oxymel
completed elderflower oxymel
How to Make a Elderflower Oxymel

How to Make a Elderflower Oxymel

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Additional Time: 21 days 2 seconds
Total Time: 21 days 22 minutes 2 seconds

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Separate the elderflowers off the stem and into a glass mason jar. Fill the jar half to full depending on how many elderflowers you have on hand.
  2. Pour in honey.
  3. Top off and fill the rest of the jar with apple cider vinegar.
  4. Let the oxymel infuse for 3-4 weeks.
  5. Strain the plant matter out using a cheesecloth, and strainer.
  6. Store the oxymel in a glass bottle, and enjoy!

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