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…

Recipe: Tempura Fried Wild Mustard Blossoms

In a time of many shortages, there's one thing that is not in short supply -- Wild Mustard.  If you drive pretty much anywhere in California at this time of year, this prolific weed is seemingly everywhere.  Did you know that it's delicious?  It's great raw in salads -- it tastes a bit like broccolini -- and adds a lot of color and fun.  It's free and it's nutritious.  

Wild mustard grows all over our property, so at this time of year, I send my kids out back with a basket and scissors to snip the tiny clusters of blossoms.  They're delicate, so to wash, we put them in a bowl filled with cold water and gently dunk them.  Dirt and other unwanted debris sinks to the bottom and the blossoms float.  My families absolutely favorite way to eat them is what we call "Popcorn Mustard Flowers".  They're essentially foraged, washed and towel-dried mustard blossoms dipped in a simple tempura batter and fried.  They taste like broccoli tempura and disappear quickly!

So, as they say, eat the weeds!  Get out there in the fresh air, do some culinary weeding, and enjoy a delicious snack!

Wild Mustard Blossom Tempura

A high smoke-point oil for frying (canola, vegetable, corn, peanut)
Field Mustard Blossoms, washed and gently towel dried
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sparkling water, as cold as possible

Step 1:  Preheat your oil to 360 F.

Step 2:  Prepare the batter by whisking together the flour, cornstarch and salt.  Add water and gently whisk just till combined.  Do not over whisk or this will create gluten.

Step 3:  When oil reaches 360.  Gently dip a blossom cluster into the tempura.  Gently shake off excess, then place in the oil.  Repeat with several blossom clusters.  Use tongs or a slotted spoon to move the blossoms around so they cook evening.

Step 4:  When gold brown and crisp, remove to a cooling rack.  Salt lightly while still hot.  Repeat with remaining blossoms.  Serve warm.

Note:  Wild nasturtium works well as tempura too. 

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