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…

Doggone Good Canine Crackers~
Healthy, homemade treats for your dog

This is a story about two picky little dogs:
Pancho & Westley
Who turned their leathery black noses up
at every healthy doggy treat that came their way.

"Too dry!" barked Westley.
"No flavor!" snarfled Pancho.
"Gives me gas," whined Westley.

Then one day,
Their two-legged counterpart
was baking some healthy homemade crackers
and dropped one on the floor.
"Mine!" growled Westley,
greedily gobbling the fallen cracker.
"More!" he howled.
"Me too, me too, me too!" squealed Pancho.

And that's how a kitchen fumble turned into a tasty triumph for two picky little dogs (and the people with whom they share the air).

Indeed, the dogs love them, but what's so great about these little crackers?

Flax Seed:  Contains Omega 3 Fatty Acids for healthy skin and a glossy coat.

Flax Meal:  Highly digestible protein and essential amino acids.

Peanut butter:  For flavor and added protein.

Whole Wheat Flour:  Vitamin B, E and Zinc

Buttermilk:  Good source of bioavailable calcium; contains bacteria that aid in digestion.

(*adapted from a people-cracker recipe)
Makes about 100 small crackers

1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
Kosher salt, for sprinkling

In a large bowl, whisk flax seeds, flax meal, flours, baking soda and salt.  Add peanut butter and small butter pieces.  With an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.  

With mixer still running, on low, slowly drizzle in buttermilk.  When a dough begins to form, turn off mixer, and bring dough together, in the bowl by kneading a few times with your hands.  Pat dough into a flattened ball and refrigerate for ten minutes.

Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8" thick.  Dough is crumbly and has a tendency to crack.  Not to worry -- you'll be cutting it anyway.

Use a floured cookie cutter to cut into shapes, or use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into squares.  

Prick each cracker a few times with the tines of a fork to prevent puffing and promote crispness.  

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven.  Using a pastry brush, brush each cracker with the egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 TB water), then sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.  (This step is optional -- if you don't want the egg or the salt, simply bake the crackers for another 15 minutes)

Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

Gather up the remaining dough and work back in to a ball.  If it is too crumbly, add a splash of buttermilk, then rest the dough for 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

Repeat process until you've used up all the dough.

Treats can be stored for up to three weeks in an air-tight container.

You can download the label that I created below.  It's free.

Disclosure:  It should be stated that these are treats, and should be given, like any "treat" in moderation.  I'm not a veterinarian.  If your dog has any special medical issues, consult your vet before feeding them anything outside of their regular diet.

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