Hedgerow Jam Recipe

You'll need to search out these berries in local hedgerows, they can not be bought in a shop. Part of the fun of making this recipe is hunting for your own food. Rope the kids in, grab your basket & have fun foraging! Never eat these berries raw. They always require cooking. 

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INGREDIENTS 

1300g elderberries / rosehips / hawthorns (weight of mixed berries off stalks

200g coconut sugar

Chia seeds to thicken

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HERE'S HOW

It's easiest to snip little bunches of berries off the tree with a pair of scissors. Make sure the berries you're picking are ripe. Elderberries should be deep black / purple not green, hawthorn berries should be bright deep red & rose hips will be red / orange with a little squish to them when you apply pressure. 

To get elderberries off their stalks, simply use a fork and run it down the stem. The berries will drop off into a bowl. Pull the hawthorn berries off their stalks & do the same with the rosehips. 

Fill the bowl with plenty of cold water and stir through with your hands to remove any dirt. You might like to rinse through in a colander. Then add to a saucepan & cover with water. 

Bring to the boil, then simmer. I left mine simmering for a good couple of hours over a very low heat. You can also use a potato masher to squish down the berries and get the most flavour out of them.

Sieve the berries to strain off the liquid. You'll need a really fine sieve or muslin cloth to strain off any tiny bits of stalk or stem. You should be left with about 1 litre of liquid. The squished berries can go on the compost heap. 

Now it's time to add sugar. Keep the pan of strained berry juice on a really low heat so that the sugar dissolves well. Stir all the while. I like to add 50g at a time. How much you add here will really depend on how sweet you like it. 

Finally allow to cool. You can decant into bottles to use as a cordial drink or dessert syrup. Equally you can stir in spoonfuls of chia seeds which will expand to make a brilliant berry jam.  

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