Handpicked Nutrition : Triple Berry Fennel Jam
Although still in the middle of my summer vacation, I couldn't help but share with you a simple recipe following our family's day trip to one of Duham's town local and family run fruit farms, Au Paradis des Fruits. We couldn't have asked for a better day in the beautiful Eastern Townships for berry picking : picturesque blue skies, bright sun and rolling hills of green surrounding us ~ AND perfect alignment with keeping up with my lifestyle change goal of connecting to nature and the outdoors at least once a day!
For a moment, while picking some raspberries, my senses zoomed in on the hundred of bees doing their pollination ''business'' among the bushes. I suddenly became very aware that these little rows of berries were not only participating in being part of our food chain, but were also playing an important role in a much greater system. I felt filled with awe and respect for this ''matrix'', deepening a little further my intuitive knowledge of nutrition.
It's when you get immersed in the experience of selecting your food straight from the source that you realize how this precious connection to nourishment can be lost when you are mainly having to shop in stores and markets, seldom questioning the conditions, environment and energy in which these grow. Nutrition is not only about the content of micro and macro nutrients. It is about nutritional integrity. When produce is being shipped from afar, it no doubt affects this integrity as it has to go through a series of man-made processes to maintain a level of freshness and appearance that pleases the consumer's eye. I am not saying that we should all suddenly start growing our produce in our back yards (I, myself, don't even have an outdoor space) or constantly trek out of town to forage our food - however by becoming more conscious of where it comes from by questioning the employees of your local grocery store, you are able to make wiser choices for your health, creating a connection before physical digestion even begins, contributing to the survival of these fast disappearing small local farms and many more benefits in the terms of yours and your community's well-being.
I can go on forever on this fascinating subject, but the sun is calling out to me and I want to take advantage of every moment of this vacation while I still can! I'll share with you the first recipe I decided to make with the abundance of berries I brought back home : a simple jam using my lovingly selected raspberries, blueberries and currents. Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, phytochemicals, fiber as well as enhanced digestibility with the fennel seeds, you can enjoy a small dose of this tasty condiment daily!
Triple Berry Fennel Jam
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
Yields: 1 1/2 cups
Kitchen equipment: mortar & pestle or coffee grinder, masher, glass jar
Rasa (taste) : Sweet, Sour, pungent (fennel)
Dosha: V: Best P: Good K: Good
- 4 cups mixed fresh berries*
(*I used 1 1/2 cups raspberries, 1 1/2 cup blueberries and 1 cup mixed currents)
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or maple syrup)
- 1/4 tsp pink himalayan salt
- 1 Tbs crushed fennel seeds
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 1/2 of an apple, cored and unseeded (for natural pectin)
1~ Place boiling water in a large bowl and let the glass container you will be using for the jam sit for 15 minutes in order to avoid bacterial contamination. Rinse your berries before use as well with gently running water.
2~ Use a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar to crush fennel until you a obtain the consistency of a grainy powder.
3~ In a large pot, add berries, salt, sugar, crushed fennel seeds and apple piece and mix well. Bring to a boil and then bring down to medium heat. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
4~ Use a potato masher to smash the berry mixture until you get your desired consistency, leaving the apple piece of apple untouched.
5~ Reduce heat to medium-low heat and let simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.
6~ Remove from heat and let cool 10-15 minutes. (The jam may seem too juicy at first but rest assured that it will thicken as it cools!)
7~ Remove apple piece and pour jam into your clean glass container. Let completely cool before closing the lid. If, like in my case, you are making this jam in the evening, you can seal the top of the container with cheesecloth and an elastic band and let cool overnight.
The jam will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator, 6 months in the freezer and 12 months if using standard canning process.