If Phoebe Canakis writes a cookbook some day, she’ll call it “Recipes Are Made to be Broken.” She loves to try new combinations and bend the rules a little when it comes to ingredients. On Tuesday, August 5, Phoebe challenged the audience at the “Blackberries: Sweet and Savory” class to try her recipes, but not be afraid to change a few things. “Play with your food!” she says. “Especially when it’s a superfood like these beautiful, dark berries.”
Phoebe started with two sweet recipes: Blackberry Margarita Freezer Jam and Blackberry syrup. She recommends fresh, locally-grown produce and herbs for all her recipes. The following recipes are garnished with valuable tips from Phoebe about cooking techniques, serving suggestions and alternative ingredients.
- 1 pound blackberries or a mix of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries
- 1 to 1½ cups organic sugar
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup silver tequila
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 1.75-ounce packet or 6 tablespoons powdered fruit pectin
- Mash berries using a potato masher, one layer at a time. Stir in the sugar and allow to rest 15 minutes. The berries will stain, so use stainless bowls and cookware.
- After the berries have rested and the sugar is incorporated, start the pectin.
- Bring to a boil, in a medium saucepan: the orange juice, tequila and lime juice. Stir in the pectin and allow to boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly (a soft, rolling boil). Remove from the burner.
- Incorporate the berry mash with the pectin, stirring until evenly combined.
- Spoon into freezer safe jars, leaving ½-inch space, and cap. (Ball glass canning jars will work.) Allow to set in the refrigerator overnight.
- Keep refrigerated for 2 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year. (If it doesn’t set firmly, it’s delicious as pancake syrup!)
The juice can also be used to create blackberry jelly (following Ball or SURE-JELL guidelines for grape jelly). USES: lemonade • syrup for cocktails / beverages • vinaigrettes • puddings/baking • ice cream • tint icing Cooking tip: Juice can be used immediately, frozen or preserved by sterilized canning.
If canning, allow to settle and scoop the juice, discarding the solids that settle at the bottom. Add ¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid per quart for canning or to keep color bright.
- 4 cups blackberries or a mix of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries
- Filtered water, to cover the berries
- Sweeten to taste with your favorite sweetener (organic sugar or agave recommended)
- Add enough water to cover the berries in a saucepan. The berries will stain, so use stainless cookware.
- Bring to a boil; simmer for 10 minutes. Gently mash the berries with a potato masher. Skim any foam off the top. (Don’t leave it unattended!)
- Strain the berries into a colander (lined with cheesecloth/fine mesh) over a bowl for 1 hour. Do NOT mash or press the berries, it makes the juice cloudy.
- Freeze or use immediately. Add sweetener based on your taste preference.
- You may save the pulp for smoothies or baking.
- Blackberry Syrup: bring 1 cup juice & 1 cup organic sugar to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. If adding an herb, stir fresh herbs into the syrup as soon as you turn off the heat. Allow the syrup to cool as the herbs infuse. Pour into a sterilized jar. Keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.
For the savory dish the class title had hinted at, Phoebe created a Beet and Berry Salad with Blackberry Dressing. Here are her recipes.
- 1 cup blackberries
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons raw organic agave
- 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
- Pinch sea salt
- Puree all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.
- Keep refrigerated up to 1 week.
- Optional additions: fresh thyme / citrus zest / fresh orange juice or orange juice concentrate / 1 teaspoon fresh ginger / 1 clove fresh garlic / jalapeño / sriracha
- 2 cups prepared French lentils
- 12 ounces beets, peeled, chopped and roasted for 20-30 min with olive oil at 400˚F until tender
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Blackberry Dressing, prepared with fresh garlic (see above)
- ¼ cup roasted or raw pumpkin seeds or walnut pieces
- ¼ cup blackberries, halved
- ¼ cup crumbled feta, chèvre or blue cheese (skip if preparing this as a vegan recipe)
- Gently combine lentils, beets, red onion and thyme. Stir in dressing, to personal taste.
- Top with seeds, berries and cheese.
A final tip from Phoebe:
“The best way to handle the berry explosion thing happening right now is to pick and freeze. You can always come back to those berries come winter and create the recipes I shared. Freezing your berries is easy. Rinse them, gently towel-dry them, spread them on a baking sheet and freeze. When they are frozen solid, place them in a date-labeled freezer bag.
There is nothing more magical than savoring the flavor of summer in the middle of winter. Blueberries and blackberries are ridiculously rich in antioxidants. There is a reason to my blueberry bush logo and it’s the love of blueberries. They make eating well easy even into winter and fall.”