Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

In the woodland valleys of Central California, Elderflower trees have been in bloom all spring with their prolific, lacy white blossoms.  I've enjoyed making Elderflower syrup, candied elderflowers and sweet Elderflower Tempura.  A few days ago, I noticed that some of the trees are starting to bear fruit -- diminutive, tart little berries, deep purplish-blue growing in heavy clusters.  

Inspired by a love of biscuits and jam, foraging, and adapted from a recipe from Simply Beyond Herbs, I whipped up a simple and delicious jam made from the foraged Elderberries, fresh blueberries and using chia seeds for a perfect jammy consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Foraging!
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Elderberry-Blueberry Chia JamYield: One half-pint jarAuthor: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 10 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 20 M An easy and delicious sweet-tart jam to make from foraged Elderberries. Ingredients:1 1/2 cups elderberries, rinsedPinch of salt1 cup blueberries, rinsed2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds1/2 Tabl…


If you've visited Rook No. 17 before, you may have noticed that I've recently made a few changes to the home page ~ just a bit of updating, housekeeping, and de-cluttering.  Hope you like it!  And if not, go suck an egg (did I just say that?).  Just kidding, of course.

I've relocated many of the buttons and gadgets, and have removed the slideshow of my cake art.    Instead, I hope you'll enjoy a sample of how I have fun with flour & sugar here on my new "Cake Art" page. While I'm currently on hiatus from the sugar wrangling biz, taking the time to tame my two little wild beasties (ages 5 & 9) , I've been coaxed out of retirement by the prospect of an exciting and challenging cake sculpting commission (involving a vintage fire-truck from my home town) which I'll be delving in to next spring!  

I've sometimes been asked which cake I'm most proud of.  There are some where I was pleased with the level of realism I was able to achieve.  Some were simply fun, while other's were meaningful.  Some have great stories attached to them.  But the one that fits in to every one of those categories has to be my CRAB CAKE.  This cake was done free form and was completely sculpted and painted by hand.  I made it as a donation to a charity Crab Feed for an organization in my area.  Delivering a cake is always the most harrowing part of the entire cake experience, and when the cake finally touches down on the showcase table, it becomes the most satisfying.  The best part of delivering this cake was when I arrived at the event was when I was directed to the kitchen by the event's organizers and told to give it to the chef, because they thought it was a real crab.  

The cake business was not without its heartbreaks and disasters, but I'll have to save those sweet little crumbs for another day...  Bon Appetit!  

While certainly very crabby, this fellow was actually a very sweet and rich chocolate cake on the inside.
His "squeeze of lemon" was made of sugarpaste.

This cake was my interpretation of the client's Peter Max lithograph (in the background).

This was designed for a book club called "The Bookies"

Inspired by Mary Cecily Barker's Flower Fairies

Alice In Wonderland Birthday Party

The client wanted a topsy turvy cake based on her collection
of eclectic demitasse

The client asked me to replicate a hammered tin plaque she and her fiancé had purchased in Mexico.  It is made of sugarpaste, as are the scrolls banding the cake.

A little sugarpaste Eiffel Tower for a Francophile birthday girl

A baby octopus for a baby shower.  Pacifier and Rattle were made of sugarpaste.


A mix of fresh and sugarpaste flowers are joined by chocolate shoes and cross.

The folk art collection that inspired the cake.

The cake.

"An inside joke," is what I was told when a mom ordered this cake for her daughter's 19th birthday.

On of my signature desserts:  Chocolate Banded Parapets

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