Why is elderberry expensive?

Answered by Robert Flynn

Elderberry syrups can be expensive due to a variety of factors. One of the primary reasons is the process of pasteurization, which is a standard practice in many manufacturing processes. Pasteurization involves heating the syrup to a high temperature in order to kill any potential bacteria or pathogens. While this is important for food safety, it also unfortunately destroys some of the healthy properties of the elderberries.

Additionally, many commercially available elderberry syrups contain large amounts of low-quality sweeteners. These sweeteners are often used to enhance the taste of the syrup but can add unnecessary calories and potentially have negative effects on health. Some syrups may even use artificial sweeteners, which can be less desirable for those seeking natural and healthy options.

Another factor contributing to the high cost of elderberry syrups is the relatively low amounts of actual elderberries used in the products. Elderberries are not cheap to cultivate and harvest, and they require specific growing conditions to thrive. This can lead to a limited supply and higher prices for the berries themselves. As a result, manufacturers may use only small amounts of elderberries in their syrups, which can drive up the cost.

Furthermore, it is not uncommon for commercially available elderberry syrups to contain cheap additives and fillers. These additives can include artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. While these ingredients may help improve the appearance or shelf life of the syrup, they do not contribute to its overall health benefits. In fact, they may even have negative effects on health for some individuals.

Honey is often marketed as an ingredient in elderberry syrups due to its natural sweetness and potential health benefits. However, the pasteurization process mentioned earlier also affects the honey added to these syrups, potentially diminishing its health properties. Additionally, some commercially available syrups may not even contain real honey, instead opting for cheaper alternatives or artificial sweeteners.

In my personal experience, I have found that making elderberry syrup at home can be a more cost-effective and healthier option. By sourcing high-quality elderberries and using minimal sweeteners, such as raw honey, maple syrup, or stevia, it is possible to create a syrup that retains more of the beneficial properties of the elderberries. This homemade approach allows for greater control over the ingredients used and eliminates the need for additives or fillers.

To summarize, the high cost of commercial elderberry syrups can be attributed to several factors. These include the pasteurization process, which can diminish the health properties of the elderberries and honey, the use of large amounts of low-quality sweeteners, the relatively low amounts of actual elderberries used, and the inclusion of cheap additives and fillers. By understanding these factors, individuals can make more informed choices when purchasing elderberry syrup and may even consider making their own at home for a healthier and potentially more affordable option.