A Proper High Tea At Better Farm: Vegan Scones And Elderberry Jam

Shay (left) and Rachel show off their scones and elderberry jam.

Shay (left) and Rachel show off their scones and elderberry jam.

It was domestic bliss at Better Farm yesterday as sustainability students Shayna Jennings and Rachel Magathan did some preserving and baking to host a small tea time with Better Farm residents.

Utilizing elderberries picked locally last season (and kept frozen in a standing basement freezer), Rachel set about making the jam while Shay took charge on the scones. Within the hour, several people from the farm were enjoying a proper high tea outside. Here's how the ladies pulled it off.

Vegan Scones


  • 2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. vegan butter substitute
  • 2/3 c. coconut milk


  1. Heat oven to 425°F
  2. Put flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl; stir mix well Add vegan butter and cut in with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers, until the mixture looks like fine granules.
  3. Add sugar; toss to mix.
  4. Add coconut milk and stir with a fork until dough forms.
  5. Form dough into a ball and turn smooth side up.
  6. Pat or roll into a 6-inch circle.
  7. cut each circle into six or eight wedges.
  8. place wedges on an ungreased cookie sheet—slightly apart for crisp sides, touching for soft.
  9. sprinkle desired amount of cinnamon and sugar on each scone.
  10. Bake about 12 minutes, or until medium brown on top.

Elderberry Jam


  • Elderberries, stripped from the stalk, washed and drained thoroughly
  • Juice of one lemon for every 3 oz. of elderberries (adjust accordingly)
  • Equal parts sugar-to-elderberry


  1. Place the elderberries and lemon juice in a large pan and heat over a medium heat until the juices start to run. Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Skim off any scum and stems that rise to the surface.
  2. Add the sugar and stir it in until it’s completely dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 10 minutes until the jam reaches setting point.

Two things to note here: the jam will bubble up so you do need to use a big pan (a preserving pan, if you have one). To know when the jam has set, put a saucer into the freezer and after 10 minutes, spoon a blob onto a cold saucer. Leave it for 10–15 seconds, then push with your finger. If it has formed a skin and wrinkles when you push, it has reached setting point.

Elderberry jam recipe from Gin and Crumpets.

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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

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