This rich and fruity Elderberry jam makes for a powerful combination full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances that can help you overcome the demanding flu and cold season. Spread on bread, swirled into morning yoghurt or just simply served alongside a cheese platter elderberry jam is versatile and unique, it will always surprise you with its delicious taste.
This is a time of the year when elderberries ripen and one has to be really keen and watch closely not to miss this short window.
“As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” Read full disclosure here.
Why forage Elderberries?
The number one antiviral herb on the planet, elderberries are packed with antioxidants and flavonoids that successfully deactivate viruses in our bodies. They are known for their high content of vitamin C and antioxidants mainly polyphenols (1) that help stimulate the immune system and increase the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the blood. In other words, Elderberries can help overcome symptoms of flu and cold.
They are ripe at the beginning of fall which is exactly the time when people are coming down with a cold and flu. So instead of buying vitamin supplements over the counter that are expensive and not very effective, boost your immune system with something natural, healthy, unique and very effective.
Popular Elderberry recipes
I often preserve elderberries as elderberry powder which is one of my favorite preservation methods however the most popular elderberry recipes for my kids are these homemade elerberry gummies and elderberry syrup.
These elderberry recipes quickly became absolute essentials in our herbal apothecary.
However, this time I wanted to make something for me, easy, versatile, rich and fruity. This elderberry jam can be easily spread on bread, served up alongside a cheese platter or other savory winter comfort foods. Alternatively swirled into your morning yogurt.
Ingredients to make this immune-boosting elderberry jam
A few important notes before we go into the recipe:
As for the sweet taste of jam, try to avoid using white refined sugar, because it decreases immune activity for several hours upon digestion. I have been using raw honey for this particular recipe as it has its own antibacterial properties and pulls out flavonoids and other nutrients. However feel free to choose from other options, like stevia, maple syrup or brown rice syrup. Please find more info about suitable sweeteners here
To make a jelly-like substance, we replaced traditional pectin with chia seeds. Chia seeds have, among other abilities, the capability to transform any liquid into a jelly like substance.
To achieve the ideal consistency, we recommend cooking the fruits a little to release their juices before mixing in the chia seeds.
Chia seeds are rightfully named a superfood. They are rich in protein, fiber, manganese, phosphorus and calcium. They are an excellent source of antioxidants and omega -3 fatty acids and are responsible for reducing the risk of many adverse health conditions, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
More info about chia seeds
Other fruits to add additional colors and flavors
You can combine Elderberries with other fruits to enhance their taste and use them as natural sweeteners. Combining elderberries with apples, pears, grapes or mango is very popular. However to achieve a deep purple color I decided to use blueberries - not only do they constitute a delicious blend when mixed with the elderberries, they are also high in antioxidants, low in calories and can help maintain brain function and improve memory.
Other homemade natural Immunity boosters
How to make Elderberry chia jam
Rinse the collected berries, pluck the berries off the stems and remove unripe berries. Remember that the stems and unripe berries contain toxins and need to be removed.
Place the berries into a large saucepan and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat. Watch out if the berries release enough of their juices. You can add some water at this stage if needed.
Add blueberries and chia seeds. Stir for about 1 minute.
mix it well and add lemon juice
Remove the mixture from the heat and add vanilla extract and a sweetener of your choice. I don't like too sweet jams so I added just 2 tablespoons of raw honey to the mixture. Feel free to add as much as per your liking.
Allow the mixture to cool down for about 20 minutes before transferring it to the airtight container (glass jar)
Cover with a lid and place it in the refrigerator overnight for the jam to thicken
This elderberry chia jam is rich and fruity in flavor. While the taste of ripe berries is tart, tangy and adstringent they develop a far better flavor when cooked and turned into jam.
honey as a sweetener acts in the same time as a natural preservative, thus you can keep the jam save in a sterilized airtight container for 2-3 weeks. If the jam was processed by canning in a water bath, it should last up to 2 years.
Definitely! When you harvest elderberries make sure you can identify them. While In Eastern North America and Europe grow wild Black elderberries (Sambucus nigra) in western North America you will find native blue elderberries (Sambucus canadensis). Both types are highly medicinal and are edible. Make sure that they are fully ripe as the unripe berries and stems can potentially make you unwell.
If you are interested to know more about Elderberries and would love to get more recipes, my friend Susannah Shmurak is launching her new book Everything Elderberry where you can find answers to all your questions regarding elderberries and 60+ recipes for this powerful medicinal plant.
You can certainly make it from dehydrated berries, just soak them in water overnight (ratio 1:4) and boil them the next day with the same water. Frozen berries would work as well.