Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

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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…

Chilled Cucumber Soup -- A refreshing summer recipe


I have had the great pleasure of spending the past week with my sister-in-law, who in addition to being a wonderful friend and amazing mother to my niece and nephew, is one of the most talented chefs I have ever known.  Every meal is a five-star experience.  This was no truer the case than with the chilled cucumber soup that she whipped up for lunch yesterday.


The temperature here in Northern California has hovered between 108 and 112, so the cool, delicate soup was the answer to our lunchtime prayers.  It was so amazing that I risked annoying my family by snapping a pic on Instagram; and then the recipe requests started rolling in. Blogging about my meals while on vacation wasn't part of my original plan, but after waking this morning from a dream in which the soup played a starring role, I decided that it was a recipe that simply had to be shared (especially with record heat waves all over the country). So, here, compliments of my beautiful sister-in-law, is her recipe for that ambrosial elixir and relief from the summer heat:



Chilled Cucumber Soup

by Natalie Gingerich 

Active Time:  15 minutes
Yield:  4-5 servings

  • 4 cloves garlic,
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 large regular cucumbers (peeled, seeded and chopped)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 doughnut peach (optional, but adds just a touch of sweetness without adding peach flavor) 
  • Handful each of chopped fresh parsley, mint and dill
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Step 1:  In a blender, puree the garlic, lemon juice, Greek yogurt, olive oil, cucumbers, water and peach.  If you have a smaller blender, you may want to work in 2 batches.

Step 2:  Add herbs, then pulse just a moment more.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3:  Chill for several hours until cold.  

My SIL topped each bowl of chilled soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a sprinkling of the finely chopped herbs, and a drizzle of lemon olive oil.


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