Am I the only one making jam in winter?! I tried making chia seed jam first time ever last December when I couldn’t pass by $2 bags of organic cranberries. And you don’t have to chop them like the photo suggests below (these cranberries were for Cranberry Cheesecake Bars), neither you have to cook the jam. Instead, you just process your choice of berries or fruit in a food processor or blender with some honey (maple syrup), lemon zest and vanilla extract. It keeps well for weeks and weeks. My kids like it and frankly it’s the only jam I would eat because it doesn’t contain refined sugars.
And think beyond cranberries! How about strawberries, raspberries (in summer from my backyard), blueberries (frozen from local farmers), blackberries (in Vancouver we pick them everywhere in August), figs (I use frozen from my backyard), mango (frozen from Costco), apricots, peaches?! And not only fresh but frozen too. Buy a bag of organic frozen berries or mangoes for $10 at Costco and make your own jam all year round.
In Ukraine, we were raised on jams. As all produce was seasonal with no imports, summer was a busy season for my mom and grandma – they were canning. Just like blueberries in North America, black and red currants were the most affordable berries (surprisingly a rare and expensive find in Canada). We would have rows of jars with black currant jam.
The most common use for jam was to spread it on a slice of bread with butter. We had no toasters, just like no soda. My mom would stir jam in a cup of cold water and call it soda. Yes, the jam contained white sugar and bread was white but that’s all we had. Jams and apples were the only fruit we consumed in winter. Can you imagine that?! I tried banana once before I turned 16 or so.
The chia seed jam is a jam of all jams, I think. First, because the berries are not cooked therefore preserving all vitamins and nutrients. Secondly, you can avoid the use of refined sugar and go for healthier alternatives like maple syrup and honey. And talk about superfood chia seeds that really work in thickening the jam. They do not expand in a jam as they would in a chia pudding. I frankly don’t know why.
I love spreading this jam on toast with some organic peanut butter. My kids put it on everything. I was surprised they were not averted by the texture and look of chia seeds, but they weren’t. My 8 year old examines it closely and taste tests but then eats with no problem. He knows something is up but then maple syrup does its job. Good enough for me.
- 2 cups cranberries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, figs, mango, apricots, peaches)
- 1 lemon, zest of
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or raw honey
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- Add all ingredients, except chia seeds, to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add chia seeds, stir, transfer to a jar and let thicken for about an hour.
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving = 2 tbsp:
Total Fat: 1.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 1.8 mg
Total Carbs: 14.5 g
Sugars: 9.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g
Protein: 0.8 g
WW Points+: 2