We're all doing our best to stay healthy and safe during this COVID-19 quarantine period. Homescape Pets has created a few recipes to help keep you and your pet healthier and your home cleaner, naturally.
We know that it's essential to get what you need, in the most economical and expedient manner as possible. Lots of the everyday household supplies that we all use are a lot more difficult to obtain nowadays. Stores are running out of basic goods and online shipping times are fairly long. And to top it off, we have to be extra vigilant about maintaining social distancing and sheltering at home.
So we've created a couple of easy recipes that will help you and your family (fur-family included), stay healthy and strong.
Immune-Boosting Elderberry Syrup
Elderberries are a species of the Sambucus nigra flowering bush, common in the US. The berries turn from green to black when ripe.
The juice of elderberries and elderberry syrup has long been used as a home remedy during cold and flu season. Elderberries are packed with antioxidants and are well-known for their immune-boosting and inflammation-fighting properties, among other benefits. They have been known to shorten the duration of the common cold and flu, both caused by viruses. For this reason, elderberry extract was used to help ward off and reduce symptoms of Influenza B during the 1993 Panama flu outbreak.
Not only is elderberry syrup easy to make, but it’s also great for boosting your immune system, battling cold/flu season, and fighting inflammation. In less than an hour, you can have a couple of batches created and cooling in your fridge. Let us know if you have any questions.
We use our Instant Pot to make the elderberry syrup, but I’ve included instructions for using a regular stovetop pan at the end.
- 1 1/2 cup dried elderberries (I use Frontier Co-Op Organic Elderberries or Starwest Botanicals Organic Elderberries)
- 6 cups of water
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon dried cloves
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
- 1 cup raw honey (to taste)
- Mesh straining bag or fine strainer
- Zest lemon & orange. Then cut into quarters
- Roughly chop ginger
- Add elderberries, orange, lemon, ginger, cinnamon sticks, & cloves to mesh bag (or directly into the pot if not using a mesh bag)
- Add mesh bag to instant pot & cover with 6 cups of water
- Add vanilla extract
- Seal instant pot & cook on high for 10 minutes
- Naturally release the steam, remove the lid, & let cool uncovered for 30 minutes
- Squeeze mesh bag to press out all of the liquid (or pour through a strainer & press out all the liquid). Discard used elderberries & fruit
- Add honey & mix well
- Store in Mason jars or airtight glass containers in the fridge for up to two months. Makes approximately 2 mason jars of syrup.
If you’re using a traditional large stovetop pot, follow steps 1-6 and add to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low for about 45 minutes. The liquid will have reduced by half. Cool. Continue with steps 8-10.
Take 1-2 tablespoons each day as desired. It’s also great for your pup! We add a teaspoon in their morning meal.
DIY Hand Sanitizer
When it comes to warding off COVID-19 and other infectious viruses and bacteria, nothing beats washing your hands with soap and water. But if that's not an option, your next best choice for getting rid of unwanted micro-organisms is a few squirts of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. However, if you've been to a retailer lately, you know that hand sanitizer is nearly impossible to find. The good news is that you can make your own germ-killing hand sanitizer quickly and easily at home. For larger batches, please follow the World Health Organization's official formula for hand sanitizer. However, our recipe below should suffice for the average household.
- 2/3 cup rubbing alcohol (99% alcohol volume)
- 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
- A few drops of essential oil of your choice (we use lavender and orange oil)
Mix all ingredients with a whisk or hand mixer & pour into a clean, dry bottle
Squirt into hands and rub together until dry (30+ seconds)
Note: Use homemade sanitizer only when washing your hands is not possible. Keep out of the reach of children and pets. Do not use on wounds or burns.
Let us know how these recipes work for you or share your own recipes with us. With a little work and help from our community, we can all be healthier, stronger, and more knowledgeable.