Here’s something a bit new for me – chia jam. Chia is a true wonder food – it’s incredibly nutritious, being high in omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants and a good source of fibre, calcium and iron.
Under the modest exterior of that tiny little grey seed, chia turns out to be rather unique in that it can absorb over 10 times its weight in liquid. And, in the process, the seeds become plump and jelly-like and it’s for that reason that it becomes a perfect binding agent in things that need to set (softly), like jam.
According to the site I found this recipe on – thekitchn.com – you can use pretty much any fruit to make chia jam (simply keep to the ratio of about two cups of fruit to two tablespoons of chia seeds). In this instance, I used frozen berries (strawberries and raspberries), and combined it with a dash of rose water – one of my favourite flavourings. If you don’t like the floral notes of rose water, feel free to use something else, like ginger juice or vanilla extract, or ditch the flavouring altogether.
To sweeten it you can use standard sugar, but it’s obviously far healthier to use alternatives like stevia, honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. I used a couple of tablespoons of brown rice malt syrup plus an added tablespoon of honey, as the fruit was very tart.
The jam, as you can see by my photo, is somewhat looser than the stiff jam you might be used to, though I think the consistency is perfect. You can use it pretty much anywhere you would use jam – spread over bread or buttered toast (peanut butter optional!), swirled through ice cream or yoghurt, added to biscuits and cakes, etc. I have a tablespoon of it every morning for breakfast, mixed in with my Cinnamon & Vanilla Granola and coconut yoghurt. It’s nice to know that I’m getting a ‘hit’ of extra goodness with each bite! Enjoy!
- 2 cups fresh or frozen berries (I used a frozen berry mix)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 to 3 tablespoons honey, agave, maple syrup, or sugar, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds, plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon rose water (or can use other preferred flavourings such as ginger juice or vanilla extract)
- Add the fresh or frozen berries to a saucepan and set over medium heat (if using frozen berries, start with a low heat until the fruit is heated through). Cook until the berries break down and becomes syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes. If your berries are large, like strawberries, you can mash the berries with the back of a spatula or a potato masher, leaving it as smooth or as lumpy as you like.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the sweetener. Taste and add more sweetener as needed, depending on how tart the berries are.
- Add the rose water (other other preferred flavouring), taste and adjust if needed.
- Add the chia seeds and stir to combine.
- Let the jam stand 5 minutes, until thickened. If you want it thicker, stir in more chia seeds 1 teaspoon at a time.
- Once the jam has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to a jar or other storage container. Store in the fridge for about 2 weeks. The jam will thicken further and become more set once completely chilled. The jam can also be frozen for up to 3 months; thaw in the fridge before using.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting