Elderflower Tincture Recipe

June 25, 2020, at 05:43 PM by Geoffrey? in Use your wits, Health, Foraging, Tincture (1 comments)

Elderflower is a powerful flower with a short window to attain. Elderflower is definitely one of my favorites!

Elderberry Tree

elderberry tree

The elderberry tree/shrub ( Genus: Sambucus) is where the flowers can be found. Elderberry is scattered throughout the country and commonly seen on roadsides. On a recent trip to Missouri from Texas, I was amazed how many there were, and the recipe and pictures below are from that recent trip.


Elderflowers are the flowers that form in large bunches in early summer. The elderflower is the pre-cursor to the well known elderberry.

Harvesting Elderflowers

Elderflower bucket

Elderflowers need to be harvested when they are in their prime, and in most cases, only a small percent of them are perfect at any given time. I suggest harvesting elderflowers when it has been dry for a few days, and make sure to bring a bucket or large bowl with you. Elderflowers have a tendency to fall off on their own when harvested at the best time, so the bucket helps to keep all the precious flowers contained.

Only Harvest enough elderflower that you can process within a few hours.

Elderflower like any flower that gets plucked has a short window for perfection. It is extremely important to harvest only the amount of elderflower that can be processed at one time, and within the next few hours. Carrying elderflowers by hand (the bunch of them) is not a good idea in that many of the flowers will fall off on their own on the walk back, thus the importance of the container.

Ripe elderflowers

Elderflowers go through basically 3 stages.

Elderflower 3 stages
3 Stages in 1 photo
  • Small white unopened buds
    • young Elderflower round buds that have not opened yet
  • Perfect Elderflowers
    • Elderflowers that are open and a vibrant white color
  • Older Elderflowers
    • Elderflowers that are past their prime and starting to turn brown and wilt.

When harvesting the flowers, use clipping shears and remove the entire bouquet of tiny flowers.

Isolating the flowers

I view this step as a Zen exercise. The process takes time, patience and attention to detail. In the pictures below, it took 3 people working non-stop for a few hours to get enough elderflower to fill up a quart jar of flowers.

Isolating Elderflowers post Harvest


  • fine toothed comb
  • large tray or bowl
  • patience
  • time


Take one bouquet out at a time, and over the bowl carefully use the comb to remove the elderflowers. The key to this process is to spend as much time on the front end removing stems and really focusing on isolating the flower from any stem material. Sloppy work leads to a sloppy and sub-optimal end result. This is where the Zen comes in.

combing elderflower

Sometimes it is helpful to isolate the large bouquet down into smaller bouquets to make handling and access to just the flowers easily.

As you move through the large bouquet, set aside the stems, and let all the elderflowers collect in the receptacle.

elderflower sorting

Once you have all of your elderflower's isolated into a bowl, go back through it carefully and remove any additional stems that are still in with the flowers. The comb works great, but it is not perfect.

elderberry closeup sort

In the end, you should have a receptacle full of elderflowers!

Elderflower Tincture Recipe

Once the flowers separated, and the stems left over have been removed, it is time to start making the elderflower tincture.

Elderflower jars


  • Glass jar with lid
  • parchment paper if using a metallic lid


  • Elderflowers
  • Lemon (Organic, one slice, skin and all)
  • Sugar or Honey
  • High Proof Alcohol (Everclear, Vodka, Gin are my go-to's)
elderflower jar half
Freshly Made Elderflower Tincture

Elderflower Tincture Recipe:

  1. Fill a jar with 1/4-1/3 of the volume with elderflower
  2. Add the slice of lemon, skin and all
  3. Add 1-2 tbs of sugar or honey (for a Quart jar, but add more or less based on sweetness preference)
  4. Fill the rest of the jar with Alcohol of choice (making sure to leave some room at the top for air
  5. Apply the top and shake

Steps after Preparation is Complete

  • Store at room temperature
  • Keep away from sunlight
  • Shake daily or as often as you remember
  • Store for 6-8 weeks

Straining Final Product

After the 6-8 weeks, your tincture is ready to be strained and used.

Pour the elderflower tincture and all the materials through a Stainless steel strainer or cheese cloth. Be sure to mash down the stuff that is leftover to extract as much liquid as possible into your final vessel. If desired, can be strained again to make a cleaner product. I normally do it only once, but I don't mind a few particulates floating around.

Once strained, store the elderflower tincture in an air tight jar and keep out of direct sunlight

Dosing Elderflower Tincture

  • 10ml taken daily as an immune booster
  • 10ml a few times a day when sick
  • Tincture can also be used to flavor hot teas, or other alcoholic beverages

1 comments on "Elderflower Tincture Recipe"

  • Jerome: 2020-06-25 23:14 -0500
    Great recipe. I will try this someday. Thanks!

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Page last modified on June 26, 2020, at 10:03 AM