So, this recipe excites me! When Dylan and I committed to cutting down on excess sugar, jam became something we avoided. While this might not be a dramatic calorie saver if you aren’t using much jam, I still absolutely love this recipe for a number of reasons:
- It’s so stinkin’ easy! Like your 9 year old could probably make this. If you have a 9 year old that is.
- It’s relatively inexpensive (I estimating it would cost less per jar than your favourite Smuckers or E.D. Smith)
- No refined sugar, really very little added sweetness at all!
- Freshness (ie. no added preservatives or mystery ingredients)
- It is super tasty!
- When I say it’s tasty-I mean it is also kid-approved!
You may be wondering how on earth I got the idea to try Chia Jam. Or maybe you’re not wondering, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Well, I kept hearing how wonderful chia seeds are, so naturally when I saw a bag of them at Winner’s I had to buy them.
There they are, those tiny little super-seeds, so full of potential! Have you ever went and bought something, convinced it would benefit your life in some way, only to end up wondering HOW it will benefit you? Well, that’s what happened with the chia seeds and I. First, I tried incorporating a teaspoon or so into our morning shakes; but then shied away from that when I wrongly assumed that was the source of some troubling tummy pain. As it turns out the pain was likely gastritis. Or maybe a gallbladder issue. In any case, the mighty chia was not the mighty problem. Once the chia seeds were found innocent in the matter of chia vs. tummy I decided it was time to find other ways to incorporate them into our diet.
I then tried making chia jelly (adding water to the seeds at about a 9:1 ratio), but never ended up using the gel for much of anything. One day when I mentioned chia gel to my mom-in-law Sally, she told me chia gel can be used to make jam. So naturally I had to hunt for a decent looking recipe to try! I didn’t have to search very long to find some pretty simple instructions, that I will further simplify 😉 The original source here (http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-easy-chia-jam-with-any-fruit-222310), has a bit more information on chia seeds, and the chia jam itself.
The above blog also mentions that the texture and consistency is not the same as traditional jam. While I did find the final product a little less viscous than store-bought jam, it was pretty close to the same consistency as some of the homemade jams I’ve been given. In other words, this jam came pretty close to what I would like in a jam.
I also liked that any fruit can be used. We almost always have one or more types of fruit in the freezer for our shakes, so I decided to try a triple-berry and a strawberry first.
Overall, I was very satisfied with the finished product! While the original blog mentions you can use an immersion blender to make the chia seeds less visible, I didn’t find them any more noticeable than the seeds from the fruit itself.
Beautiful right? Alright, here’s the how-to of making your own simple, delicious chia jam!
Chia Fruit Jam
Produces approximately 1.5-2 cups of jam
Total prep and cooking time about 20-40 minutes
- 2 cups chopped fruit
- 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice (to taste)
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds (with more if needed)
- Prepare fruit as needed (clean, peel, and chop; depending on what type of fruit you’re using). I used frozen fruit, so very little preparation was needed. I left the smaller berries whole, but halved or quartered the larger strawberries.
- Add the berries, honey, and lemon to the pot and simmer until the fruit begins to break down (about 10-15 minutes if you are using fresh fruit, 20-30 if you are using frozen fruit)
- Mash fruit up with a potato masher, if needed, to desired consistency. At this point you can cook the fruit a little longer if it isn’t quite thick enough, or move on to the next step. I made this recipe again yesterday using frozen fruit and I basically just put it on a low simmer for hmmm, maybe 30-40 minutes and stirring occasionally (read: when I remembered, between other household chores) and it turned out perfectly.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and add chia seeds.
- Allow the jam to cool for at least 5 minutes and evaluate the consistency. If it is not thick enough you can add chia, 1 tsp at a time. I have found 2 tsp sufficient for each of the 4 jars I’ve made, but I allow the fruit to simmer quite long.
The original recipe said to add the honey and lemon at the end, but I added it while I was cooking. I found 2 tbsp of honey, 2 tbsp of lemon, and 2 tbsp of chia to be perfect for the berry jams. If I try a mango jam I may start with 1 tbsp of lemon and honey and go from there. Also, I cooked my fruit for around
20 30-40 minutes to reach the desired thickness.
Now that you see how quick, simple, and inexpensive it is to make chia jam, why not try it yourself! Let me know what fruit you tried and how you enjoyed the final product!