Like gummy bears, but much better for you, these vegetarian elderberry gummies are a tasty sweet treat! Made with vitamin-rich elderberries, they are great for boosting the immune system.
Like most people, I live in a family full of candy lovers! However, I didn’t feel great about feeding my family sweets that were packed full of processed sugar and gelatin, so I decided to make a kinder and healthier alternative using agar-agar and natural sweeteners.
These vegetarian elderberry gummies are the perfect sweet treat for when you’re out and about and you feel as though you need a little pick me up. Like regular gummy bears, you can easily keep a pack of them on you if you’re taking a hike or a bike ride in case you need a quick energy boost.
Sweet and slightly tart, vegetarian elderberry gummies have a taste that will have your mouth watering and your taste buds dancing. Made from elderberries, they’re also great for boosting the immune system, especially in the colder winter months.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- A vegetarian alternative to gummy bears.
- Quick and simple to make.
- Made with immune-boosting elderberries.
- Perfect for a quick energy boost.
- No refined sugar.
What is Agar-Agar?
Agar-agar is a wonder of the natural world! It’s plant-based gelatin derived from seaweed and is used in Asian cooking, primarily for making desserts. I’ve found that it gives these vegetarian elderberry gummies a great firm jelly-like consistency.
If you’re making any recipe that calls for animal-derived gelatin, you can usually substitute agar with good results.
Agar is entirely flavorless and odorless, making it the perfect substitute for gelatin in any recipe because it won’t impact the final flavor. If you’re following a recipe that calls for gelatin, you can usually substitute agar in powdered form in a 1:1 ratio.
Agar is available from health food stores, in the supermarket, at Asian supermarkets or online.
Elderberry is widely considered to be one of the most healing plants there is. They are packed full of vitamins, particularly Vitamin C, and they are known to boost the immune system, which is excellent news with cold and flu season just around the corner!
They also have anti-inflammatory properties. Anti-inflammatories are thought to be beneficial for people with autoimmune disorders, as well as helping with things like wellbeing and sleep quality.
If you ever find yourself in possession of fresh elderberries, be sure to cook them thoroughly before eating them. Eaten raw, they can cause nausea and vomiting.
How-to Make Elderberry Gummies
To make vegetarian elderberry gummies, you will need some elderberry syrup. You can make it yourself by following the recipe in the link, or you can buy it ready-made. You can find pre-made elderberry syrup in most health food stores or online. You can also whip some up in an Instant Pot.
Begin by mixing elderberry syrup, honey and agar-agar powder in a pot over medium heat and simmering for five minutes. Be sure to stir frequently.
Then, using either a pipe or a spoon, transfer the mixture into molds. You can use any shaped mold you like!
Pop them in the fridge to set for at least fifteen minutes.
Once they’ve set your vegetarian elderberry gummies can be stored just like any other kind of gummy in a cool, dry place.
If you’re going to take them out with you, be sure not to let them get too warm; otherwise, they will melt slightly and stick together!
Can I make this vegan?
If you’d like to make vegan elderberry gummies, you can simply substitute the honey for any vegan liquid sweetener, and also make sure to use an elderberry syrup that is sweetened without honey. For example, agave syrup works well, as do vegan honey alternatives. You could also try date syrup or maple syrup.
What kind of agar-agar should I use?
Agar-agar is available in powder, flakes, bars and strands. I think that it’s much easier to work with the powder!
More Immune-Boosting Recipes
If you’re looking for more ways to boost your immune system this fall, you can take a look at these 27 immune-boosting recipes for inspiration.
Vegetarian Elderberry Gummies Recipe
- 1 cup elderberry syrup storebought or homemade - see Notes for recipes
- 2 tablespoons raw honey or any sweetener of choice
- 2 tablespoons agar agar powder
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the elderberry syrup, honey and agar agar powder.
- Whisk continuously for about 5 minutes, or until mixture begins to noticeably thicken. Turn off the heat.
- Using a dropper or spoon, gently fill the silicone molds of your choice.
- Place the molds in the refrigerator to chill and set for at least 15 minutes before removing the gummies from the molds.
- Keep stored in a cool, dry place, like the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.