Elderberry Chia Seed Jam

You know I'm a huge fan of foraged foods. It isn't just the fact that we're surrounded by so many free ingredients! It's the art of going into the wild, collecting nuts, berries, roots and fruits and creating the most delicious recipes from them. 

Elderberries grow wild in the British countryside. They prefer forested areas, farms, or rural areas with lots of organic waste. They're often used as hedges in Europe because they are easily shaped and spread quickly.

You must NEVER eat elderberries raw. They have to be cooked to ensure they're safe & eible. 

I've always been rubbish at making jam. There is a definite art to getting that rolling boil! This is my cheat recipe which is failsafe. The chia seeds provide the perfect thickener to jellify the jam. Not only do they ensure the jam thickens nicely, they also contain lots of extra benefits. 

INGREDIENTS

500g elderberries (or other berries if you can't find them)

750ml water

300g coconut sugar or honey if non-vegan (more if you need it sweet)

Juice of half a lemon

METHOD

Remove the berries from their stems with a fork and wash thoroughly to remove any bits of leaf, twig and stalk

Add the berries to a pan of water and bring to the boil. Gently crush with a potato masher, just enough to release some of the juices

Boil down over a medium heat for around 20 minutes, skimming off and discarding any scum which has come to the surface

Strain the water from the crushed berries and discard the berries. You can use a sieve or a muslin cloth to remove all traces of berries

Return the water to the pan and boil over a low heat. Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir until all the sugar is dissolved

Allow to cool and store in sterilised bottles as an elderberry syrup. Alternatively stir in chia seeds to thicken up the syrup into a jam. You'll need 20g of chia seeds for every 500ml of liquid, or more if you'd like the jam thicker

Pour into sterilised jam jars and store in the fridge

Serve on hot toast or porridge