Posted on October 4, 2017
Tis the Season to be Foraging – Blackberry & Ginger Jam & Gin Cocktails
Good afternoon folks! It is an insane blustery day here in the wild wests of Donegal. But it certainly does wonders for blowing the cobwebs out. I’ve really been enjoying the autumn foraging with some of the girls and even doing cooking demos with some of the wonders that the hedgerows have to offer.
I’ve been dying to share some of the delicious stuff that we’ve been making and have finally had the time to sit down and type out some of the recipes. Read on for tasty preserves, healthy jams and a sneaky sweet treat to put in your gin cocktail.
For the Blackberry & Ginger Chia Jam
2 cups foraged blackberries
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup for vegans
3 tbsp of whole chia seeds
First its always good to do a really thorough clean of the berries, make sure there’s no stalks or leaves. Then I like to soak them in a big bowl of water over night. Gross-out disclaimer here, there’s always the chance of little worms and spiders in naturally harvested fare, so this gets rid of the critters so you’re not adding extra protein to your preserves!
Next add your berries and about a third of a cup of water to a pot on a medium high heat, simmer them away for 20 minutes or so just so they break down a bit.
There’s no need to do any jar sterilising for this jam as its a “fresh jam” and won’t be kept more then a week in the fridge. On the up side since it is so much lower in sugar then regular jam, feel free to absolutely pile it onto your toast or porridge.
Add the berry mix (while it is still hot), the chia seeds, the ginger and the chosen sweetness to a big jar or container and give it a good stir.
Voila! That’s it, let it set for a few hours and the chia seeds will act as a gelling agent giving you a nice firm “jam”.
Gin Hedgerow Cordial
Another wonderful use of the abundance of berries around this time of year (if you’re not to sure what’s delicious or dodge, get thee a foraging guide of some sort!) is to turn it into cordials! Todays I’ve a mix boiling away on the stove of haws, blackberries, rosehips and sloe berries that I’ll boil away for a few hours, then strain to have a clear liquid (you can lash the berry pulp in your compost) and then that will go back on the boil with some sugar (maybe about 200-300g) till you have a syrup. This can also be made into a solid jelly of course, but we’re thinking cordial here. Add to soda water with a measure of gin and a slice of orange for a garnish. My friend Yolanda even makes her own beautiful dried orange and lime slices, but I’ve yet to graduate to that level of fabulousness.