Chia Berry Jam
Have you tried making chia jam? It’s a really quick and easy way to prepare fresh fruit preserves without the need for pectin or other thickeners. It’s also a great way to savor the flavor of in-season berries, make the most of berries that lack sweetness, or keep overripe berries from going to waste. Chia seeds, which can hold many times their weight in water, gel to create a jam-like consistency. They’re nutrition powerhouses, high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
Another perk of making your own jam is being in control of the ingredients. This jam contains about half the sugar found in traditional store-bought jams and jellies. Like it sweeter? Add more maple syrup. Want it less tangy? Cut down on the lemon juice. We're using the strawberries and blackberries from this week's haul, but any combination of berries will work.
Serve chia berry jam however you enjoy jams or preserves. It’s especially delicious on an almond butter and jelly sandwich, stirred into plain Greek yogurt, or warmed up and spooned over vanilla ice cream! This recipe makes one cup and will keep for one to two weeks in the fridge.
Chia Berry Jam
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes (plus cooling time)
Yield: 1 cup
1 heaping cup Perfectly Imperfect chopped strawberries
1 cup Perfectly Imperfect blackberries
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 ½ tablespoons chia seeds
1-2 teaspoons Perfectly Imperfect lemon juice
¼ teaspoon vanilla (optional)
Add the berries to a small saucepan and set it over medium-low heat. Stir the berries frequently, using a potato masher to crush them as they begin to heat through. Bring them to a low simmer and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in the maple syrup and chia seeds and continue to cook over low heat for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice to taste and vanilla if using; allow to cool. Transfer jam to a lidded glass jar and refrigerate. The jam will continue to thicken as it chills in the fridge and will keep for 1 to 2 weeks.
Did you try this recipe? We'd love to hear about it (and all the other ways you're cooking up this week's produce in your kitchen)! Be sure to snap a pic, post to social, and tag us @perfectlyimperfectproduce so we can share your creations to inspire others.
By Carolyn Hodges, MS, RDN