Have you ever made your own jam before? Making jam can be tricky, but we are going to make an easy refrigerator elderberry jam to smother your best baked scones in. So put the kettle on and let's dive into jam making.
All About Elderberries
Elderberries are small, dark purple fruit that grow from the elder plant. Starting as fluffy, fragrant white flowers, both berry and flower are used medicinally and have become well known in modern herbalism for helping fight off the flu and cold. The berries are packed full of antioxidants and vitamins that help boost the immune system, and are best taken as a preventative or at the beginning of illness to shorten the amount of time you are sick. Not all medicine tastes like medicine, though, and elderberries have a fruity, slightly tart, and earthy flavor that makes them perfect for cooking and baking with.
Often made into syrup, elderberries also make a wonderful jam that creates an easy and delicious way to get this beneficial berry into your and your family’s diet. Luckily, you don’t have to go out and forage your own elderberries. Plum Deluxe carries Just Elderberry tea, which we are going to use to make our elderberry jam.
Making Elderberry Jam
Jams are often preserved by canning, but if you want jam without the commitment of canning, you can make an easy refrigerator jam. With five ingredients – Just Elderberry tea, sugar, apple juice or cider, pectin, and lemon or lime – and just a few minutes in the kitchen, we will soon have a tasty vitamin- and antioxidant-packed jam.
Since elderberries are not high in pectin, a naturally-occurring starch that binds with citrus and sugar to make the structure and texture needed for jams, jellies, and preserves, we are going to use apple juice or cider as our liquid base. I also used Certo liquid pectin to get the jam to set up.
You have some wiggle room with the amount of sugar you use. A half cup produces a looser, tarter jam, while a whole cup makes a sweet jam that’s quite firm. I think 3/4 of a cup would be a good sweet spot. If you used one cup of sugar, there may still be some grittiness after you’ve combined your ingredients; this will disappear after the jam has set for a day.
The amount of jam this recipe makes depends how much sugar you choose to use. Half cup of sugar will make about 3/4 of a cup of jam, where using a cup of sugar would make about 1 and 1/4 cups of jam. I used 16 oz pint jars for my batch, but a jelly jar would work if you were making the low sugar version.
Gather your ingredients, a clean jar, measuring cup, and a canning funnel if you have one. This recipe comes together quickly.
If you find that you enjoy making jams and jellies, try our spiced pear jam, mixed summer berry tea jelly, golden zucchini chutney, or carrot jam recipes.
Elderberry Jam Pairings
Back to those scones. If you'd like to dollop your elderberry jam onto freshly baked scones, we have an eclectic catalogue of recipes to choose from: sweet Earl Grey blackberry scones with lemon glaze, savory broccoli cheddar scones, gluten and dairy free scones, or even paleo scones.
I made my traditional raisin scones to pair with my tea and jam. However, elderberry jam is good for more than topping scones. Make an epic peanut butter and elderberry jam sandwich, top pancakes or French toast, or spread it on homemade gluten free English muffin bread. Elderberry jam also makes a tasty accompaniment to a cheese board or smeared inside a fancy grilled cheese. Your elderberry jam can also be used as a topping for ice cream, cheesecake, or as a filling for cakes and cookies. With so many options, you might want to double the batch!
Plum Deluxe carries several teas containing the immune boosting elderberry that would compliment your fresh elderberry jam. Be Well Blend is a combination of black tea, elderberry, and orange that has a fruity, comforting flavor along with the caffeine you need to get through the day. Huckleberry Happiness is another caffeinated option with three kinds of berries and currants blended with crisp Ceylon black tea. If you prefer herbals, Self Care Blend is a caffeine free tea highlighting elderberries and apricots mixed with sweet honeybush tea.
Easy Elderberry Jam
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 1 ounce Just Elderberry
- 1/2 to 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
- 1 pouch Certo liquid pectin
Heat apple cider to boiling. Remove from heat and steep the elderberries in it for ten minutes. The cider will turn a rich reddish-purple. You can strain the berries at this point, or choose to leave them in as I did. They add a crunchy texture like seeds.
Add sugar and lemon juice and stir until well combined.
Stir in liquid pectin.
Pour jam quickly into your jar, as it sets up in just a few minutes. Make sure you leave headspace for expansion.
Let jam sit out for 24 hours at room temperature, then store in the refrigerator for one month or the freezer for up to a year.
I write as someone who grows and uses herbs with love, I am not a medical professional. Please consult your physician with any questions before trying a new herbal regimen.