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…

Warm Up With: Mushroom Marsala Soup

With "soup weather" sweeping the country, I figured it was the perfect time to share my favorite winter warm-up -- A hearty meatless soup featuring Porcini and Crimini mushrooms, fresh thyme and Marsala wine. 

Mushroom Marsala Soup

(adapted from Rachel Ray's Mushroom Soup with Marsala)

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (approx. 1 cup)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced 
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Optional: Lemon olive oil (I prefer Oliviers)

Optional Hardware:
  • If you have a mandoline, I recommend slicing the criminis and shallots on the 1/8" setting.
  • Stick (immersion) blender

Step 1: In a medium saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil.  Add dried porcinis and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 2:  In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil.  Add crimini mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat until tender and slightly browned (approx. 12-15 minutes).  All of the liquid will have evaporated from the pot at this point.  

Step 3:  Add the shallots, garlic, bay leaf and time.  Season with salt (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher) and pepper.  Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until shallots have softened and a fond begins to form on the bottom of the pan.  

Step 4:  Add Marsala, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan.  Cook until reduced by half.  

Step 5:  Remove the porcini mushrooms from the stock; chop, then add to the stock pot.  Pour the porcini stock into the pot as well.  Add 2 cups boiling water, then simmer for 10 minutes.  Slowly stir in the half and half, then simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Step 6:  If you have an immersion blender, give a few pulses inside the stock pot to break down about a 1/3 of the mushrooms.  If using a conventional blender, remove 1 1/2 cups of the soup, puree, then return to the pot.  Stir in the parsley.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.  Ladle into bowls, drizzle with lemon olive oil and garnish with just a touch more of chopped parsley.  Serve with a crusty french bread, toasted and drizzled with olive oil.


This soup is even more amazing the second day once the flavors have had a chance to marry over night.

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