Jam Recipe

Berry and Chia Seed Jam

This one’s for the hippies!

Actually, it was influenced by three things: general task avoidance, a dearth of ingredients, and a simple request from my sister to make something that she could eat. My lovely sibling – the Tahoe denizen, health and fitness nut, harsh critic of the things I choose to put in my body, and creator of bridalbabefitness.com – was diagnosed in her late teens as having celiac disease, and as such cannot ingest gluten without horribly and painfully shedding the lining of her small intestine. Gross, right? As you can imagine, what began for her as a series of nesessary menu alterations in an effort to avoid excessive internal bleeding eventually led to a health-centric dietary overhaul, and a budding career in nutrition.

Meanwhile, which of us can be found stuffing their tubby maw with handmade pasta, cupcakes, craft beer and every other fatty, salty, caloric and glutenful (probably not a word) food they can get their hands on?

Yours truly.

Chia Jam with Greek Yogurt and Bananas
Chia Jam with Greek Yogurt and Bananas

Why?

Because it’s delicious.

That’s not to say that some of her nutritious ways haven’t rubbed off on me. For instance, she’s the reason that a carton of chocolate flavored coconut water is perched next to a jug of milk in the door of the fridge, and an unhappy, partially used sack of flax seed is crammed into the back of the bread cabinet (one is delicious, the other is not, you can determine which is which). So when I found myself standing in my kitchen staring at the package of chia seeds freshly plucked from the grocery bag, I started wondering how I could use this ancient Aztec superfood in something that actually had taste.

Sorry, but those stupid little seeds taste like crap.

A quick search online revealed that I could use the ingredient to make a simple jam. Lo and behold, I had blueberries and strawberries in my shopping bags as well, so I set out to make a new (for me) recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 ½ cup fresh strawberries
  • ¼ cup agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ½ tsp bourbon vanilla paste

Mix the berries together with the agave syrup and lemon, and cook covered over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the berries begin to reduce.

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Reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir in the chia seeds. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes, until the chia seeds have bound the mix together, and the whole thing has reduced even further.

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QUICK LESSON: When wet, chia seeds create a bead of gel that can absorb many times the weight of the original seed. This gel acts as the binding agent in this simple recipe instead of something like pectin. As a bonus, the chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, and are a wonderful source of energy, which is why traditional South-American civilizations used this superfood to keep their energy up while conquering and pillaging rival peoples. History is fun!

Allow the mixture to cool. Removing it to a bowl, and stirring it occasionally will help speed the cooling process.

Mix in the vanilla (you can use extract instead of paste) into the berries, and refrigerate.

This can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

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