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…

Cooking with Edible Flowers ~ Honey Viola Lollipops

It's finally starting to feel like spring around here!

The sun is shining.
The birds are chirping.
And the flowers are all in bloom!

I've been waiting all winter long for the arrival of spring flowers in order to start enjoying the beautiful and wildly creative recipes in Miche Bacher's book, Cooking with Flowers.  I'll be sharing my review and giving away a copy next week, but today I'm pleased to be showing you how to make Honey Viola Lollipops, inspired by Miche's Pansy Lollipop recipe.

For my recipe, I went with the pansy's smaller cousin, the viola. I replaced 1/4 cup of corn syrup from the original recipe with 1/4 cup of organic honey.  You can use any type of edible flower, and can flavor the lollipops to suit your taste.

A few notes:  
  • I found that the darker blossoms work better than the lighter ones.  The yellow violas were barely visible inside the sugar.  
  • Pouring the molten candy into uniform circles is a bit tricky.  Even though I like the free-form look of these lollipops, I'd like to try them next time in a mold.  
  • If doing free-form lollipops, I'd recommend using two baking sheets.  This way you have more room for each pop, and are less likely to have them run together.

Honey Viola Lollipops

adapted from Cooking with Flowers by Miche Bacher

12 lollipop sticks
scotch or craft tape
Non-stick spray
12 violas (or any edible flowers you like)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup (not HFC)
1/4 cup organic honey
1/3 cup water

Step 1:  

Free-form Option:  Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.  Arrange 6 sticks on each tray.  Tape in place so that the sticks don't roll.  Spray areas where candy will be poured with non-stick spray.  Arrange one viola directly above each stick.

This photo gives an idea of how I taped the sticks down and placed the blossoms.  I'd recommend dividing the sticks between two trays, however.  This configuration was a little too cramped.

Molded Option: Spray a 12-cavity lollipop mold with nonstick spray.  Set sticks in place.  Place a viola in the center of each cavity.

Step 2:  Place a large metal bowl full of ice cubes next to the cooking surface.  Spray a 1 or 2-cup glass measuring cup with nonstick spray.  

Step 3:  Combine sugar, corn syrup, honey and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Then, let it come to a boil and insert a candy thermometer.  Boil syrup mixture without stirring until the temperature reaches 300° F.  Remove from heat and immediately place the saucepan on top of the ice to stop the cooking.

Step 4:  Carefully pour the hot syrup into the glass measuring cup.  This will make it easier to pour the syrup.  Gently pour the hot candy into the molds or over the flowers on the prepared pans.  Let pops cool completely (about 10-20 minutes) before moving.  Store in an airtight container and away from humidity.


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