Norm's Farms (formerly Elderberry Life) Products are a tasty and convenient way for you to enjoy America’s own homegrown superfruit, Sambucus Canadensis, the American Elderberry. Elderberry health benefits are being rediscovered and verified in scientific studies. Although the European elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has been more well studied and cultivated, the American elderberry has been found to contain similar anti-cancer compounds. (Note: some sources list the European elderberry as Sambucus nigra sbsp. nigra, and the American elderberry as Sambucus nigra sbsp. canadensis. Their properties are very similar.)
Elderberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of various small fruits as measured using the ORAC method. [ORAC] = Oxygen Radical absorbance Capacity. Elderberries had a value of 147 compared to 62 for blueberries, 95 for cranberries, 53 for mulberries, 40 for raspberries and 36 for strawberries. (Data source: “Elderberry as a Medicinal Plant“)
“Elderberry as a Medicinal Plant” also states that “elderberries are an excellent source of anthocyanins, vitamins A and C and a good source of calcium, iron and vitamin B6.” Norm's Farms has a great article on the history of elderberries, including medicinal use. They share studies that demonstrate how elderberry extract boosts the immune system:
The results of a clinical trial, published in the International Journal of Medical Research in 2004, showed flu patients given one tablespoon of elderberry extract four times per day recovered in an average of 3.1 days, compared to 7.1 days for those given a placebo. A 1995 study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that nearly 90% of flu patients given elderberry extract were completely free of symptoms within two to three days, as compared to at least six days with a placebo.
Where Can I Find Elderberries?
If you happen to live out in the country where elderberries grow, you may be able to forage for them like I did when I made elderberry wine. For most people, this just isn't practical. Thankfully, American elderberries are now under cultivation by a small number of growers who are making it easy for you to get your very own elderberry juices, jams, jellies and drinks.
I ran into the folks from Norm's Farms (formerly Elderberry Life) on Twitter, and their site caught my eye because I had just been elderberry picking. I made contact, and asked if they'd like to sponsor a review and giveaway, and they said yes! Roger generously sent over samples of their product line, and one lucky winner will also get to try all their products. (They also operate a nursery and give classes on elderberry growing, so if you'd like to know more about growing your own elderberries, please visit their site.)
Win Elderberry Products from Norm's Farms (Elderberry Life)
Norm's Farms (Elderberry Life) offers six tasty options for getting your regular dose of elder berries.
The Elderberry Herbal Cordial is a blend of elderberry juice, honey, cinnamon and cloves. It tastes like a mulled cider, and would be excellent warmed for a sore throat.
The Elderberry Juice is pure, antioxidant packed elderberries. It's great for mixing into other drinks or juices to bump up their nutritional value. I made a simple Superfruit Sorbet using 1 banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup tart cherries (all frozen) and 1/4 cup elderberry juice blended in the Vitamix. Yum!
The Peach Elderberry Juice is a blend of peach and elderberry, and is great for drinking straight out of the bottle. It's also good as a kombucha flavoring. I tried some of all three juice blends in kombucha. You know that's got to be good for you.
The Elderberry Jelly is made with elderberry juice, and has a smooth, easily spread consistency. The Elderberry Jam is made with juice and pulp (no seeds – those are not recommended eating). The elderberry jam has a thicker texture (I admit, I prefer the jam. It tastes more berry-like to me, but both are good.)
The Elderberry Aid is lemonade mixed with elderberry juice. I would have taken another pretty picture, but my eldest discovered it and drank the whole container before I got the chance. He said, “It's tart, but it's good.” I guess so, since he drank it all. 🙂
You can win one of each of these products, valued at $55.08, and see if you find the same elderberry health benefits shown in the studies. I know last cold and flu season, elderberry was one of my “go to” foods when we felt something coming on or had been exposed to “ick” of one sort or another. I like having elderberries in the fridge and pantry. (If you are in to processing your own, Elderberry Life does ship 25 pound buckets of elderberries, as well as larger quantities.) You can learn more about Elderberry Life in the article “Missourians pushing elderberry as superfruit “.
The giveaway starts on 9/10/2012 (we had a delay due to server downtime) and ends at 12:01 am CST on 9/17/2012. Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter (subscribers should visit the website to enter). Leave a blog post comment sharing which Elderberry Life product you'd like to try the most and why for two easy entries. Facebook and Twitter folks can earn extra entries.