Master Recipe: Berry Chia Seed Jam

This is the PERFECT jam for 3 reasons:
1. it's super easy (completed in less then 10 minutes).
2. you can use little to no added natural sugars.
3. no canning required = you can make it as you need it.

And did I mention that it's super easy?

We switched to real, whole foods a while ago and as part of that style of eating, we have just about eliminated refined sugar (I have completely, my husband has drastically reduced his consumption).  So what do I use in jam, you ask?  I've made canned jam using honey as well as canned jam using maple syrup.  The problem is two fold: 1. it uses a LOT of honey or maple syrup (which aren't cheap) and 2. as we've stopped eating so many sweet things we realize just how overly sweet jam can be.

Enter, the chia seed jam....

I almost always have frozen berries in the freezer.  Coincidentally, our favorite jam is any berry or mixture of berry.  So this really is the perfect jam.

Also, it's made in a small batch.  We don't eat jam a lot so this solves the problem of it possibly going bad.  It's easy peasy to finish off one batch of this before it goes bad - we use it on toast, on crepes, on "nice cream" (non-dairy ice cream), on oatmeal, etc.

Just 4 Ingredients
1. Fruit -  You can use fresh fruit or frozen.  You could use other fruit instead of berries.  If you use any larger fruits (strawberries, peach slices, etc.) just cut them up small.  Of course some fruits will be less juicy requiring a little less chia seeds, so it may take a little trial and error for dryer types of fruits.

2. Chia Seeds - a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber, these little seeds will thicken up your jam perfectly in a matter of hours as it cools.  A quick note about chia seeds.  They can lose their thickening ability as they age.  If you have seeds that have been in your pantry for some time, they may not set the jam very well.

3. Maple Syrup, Date Syrup, or Honey (or any other sweetener) - just a touch of natural sweetener, if you like, adds a compliment to the fruit but doesn't overpower it.  *A quick note - your jam will taste sweeter when it's hot then when it cools. So don't get too concerned if it seems too sweet.  Let it cool and taste it again.*

4. Lemon Juice - this little bit of acid adds a complimentary brightness to the jam.  Balsamic vinegar is a nice substitution in strawberry jam.  If you don't have it, you can omit it, but it does round out the flavor nicely.

Stir, Smash, or Blend
You can make this jam the texture you desire.
- You can stir it up, smashing it only slightly, allowing some of the juices to release but leaving much of the fruit intact.
- You can smash it up, allowing all of the juices to release, making a less chunky jam but still quite a bit of texture.
- Or, you can smash it, allow the juices to release, and then, using a handheld blender, blend the fruit up making a smoother texture.

Master Recipe:  Berry Chia Seed Jam

1 Pound of Berries, or other fruit, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw)
2 - 4 Tablespoons Honey, Maple Syrup, Date Syrup, or other sweetener (*use 2 Tablespoons for very lightly sweet - see note above regarding sweeteners)
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Whole Chia Seeds
optional: you can add a pinch of cinnamon and/or a tiny pinch of nutmeg. Cinnamon is particularly good in blueberry jam!

Prepare your fruit.  Wash and allow to dry if fresh.  If using fresh strawberries, hull and chop them into smaller pieces.  Raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, or blueberries can be left whole.

Add prepared fruit, sweetener, and lemon juice to a pan over medium heat.  Stir as the fruit heats up, and use a spoon or masher to mash the fruit in order to release the juices.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Use a masher or handheld blender (if you prefer it smoother) to gently mash the fruit.  Stir in the chia seeds.

Transfer to container.  Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.  Let sit at least 5 hours before serving.

Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.


Kathy said...

I've seen Downshiftology make a berry chia jam and it sounds like a good option. I'm the same as far as I would like to make jam however half of it is sugar. I currently buy my strawberry and raspberry jam from Aldi for $1.99 per jar so it's reasonable however I would like to try this one and chia is good for you. Have a good week. Kathy, Brisbane, Australia

daisy g said...

This is brilliant! No sugar, no need to can, I love it! Will be trying when berries are ripe in the garden and passing it on...Thank you!

Cockeyed Jo said...

Since we grow our own berries, I'm always on the lookout for things to do with frozen berries that's healthier. Thank you.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thank you so much Kathy, Daisy, and Cockeyed Jo!