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…

Bake-Ins: Cupcakes Baked in Terra Cotta Flower Pots

There are many variations on the flower pot cupcake, but this one's mine.  Both at home and at my boutique cakerie, I've enjoyed baking cakes in unconventional containers.  Jars, cans, bowls, teacups, boxes and even hollowed-out citrus fruits make wonderful vessels for your favorite cake batter, and provide a springboard for boundless creativity.

Top row from left: Baby Food Lookalike Cupcakes, Teacup Chamomile Tea Cakes, Terrarium Cakes. Bottom row from left: The original CAKE OUT™, Snow Cone Cupcakes, Soft Serve Hi-Hat Cupcakes.

I've done several variations on the flower pot cupcake theme, but created this freshly "minted" version as a donation for the cake walk at my daughter's elementary school carnival.  I broke the batch up into groups of three and packaged them in gardening caddies that I made out of cereal boxes and washi tape.

I used wooden coffee stirrers as my garden stakes.  I stamped them with the type of cake (fudge cake) so that the kids knew what to expect beneath the cookie crumble soil.
Flower Pot Cupcakes are a versatile and creative alternative to traditional cupcakes.  You can use your favorite cake batter recipe, or use a mix from the store.  You can use any type of edible plant, or use lollipops instead for sapling lollipop trees!  The gummi worms are a fun addition that the kids go crazy over. 

Here's how to make...

Flower Pot Cupcakes

makes 2 dozen
  • 24 small Terra Cotta Pots, labels removed and run through the dishwasher and dried
  • Parchment paper, cut into 1" circles
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Your favorite cake batter or mix (enough for 2 8" cakes)
  • Your favorite frosting (enough for 24 cupcakes)
  • 1 package Oreo cookies, pulverized in a food processor or blender
  • Edible plants or flowers (I keep my mint in the refrigerator in a vase of water until ready to use)
  • 24 Gummi worms
Step 1:  Arrange flower pots on a large baking sheet.  Spray insides of each pot with nonstick spray.  Insert one parchment round, to cover the hole in the bottom of the pot.

Step 2:  Preheat oven to 350° F.  Prepare cake batter.  Divide evenly among flower pots.  The pots will be approximately 2/3 full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, until cupcakes have peaked and until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Step 3:  Once cool, frost the cupcakes.  Place cookie soil in a medium bowl.  Hold a frosted cupcake over the bowl and sprinkle a handful of crumbs over the frosting.  Lightly pat in place.  Repeat with remaining cupcakes.

Step 4:  To add the gummi worms, I used a plain drinking straw, inserted along the edge of the pot to poke a small hole.  This makes it easy to insert the worm.  

Step 5:  To keep the living greens fresh, keep them in water until just before serving the cupcakes.  For the mint, I created small bundles (about 3 stems-worth), trimmed them to a good length and inserted them in the center of the cupcake.


 Here's another version that I made back in January:

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