Whether berry season is upon you now and you’re thinking about how you could use up the fruit that you’ve picked at the local “U-Pick” or you have some frozen fruit on hand and you want to make something healthy and homemade, this recipe will do the trick.
It’s quick, it’s easy, only contains three real food ingredients, and it’s (dare I say it?) better than your grandma’s family recipe.
Not many of us have the time to do the prep work involved in the jams of our parents’ and grandparents’ days, and we’re not just looking for something easier today – we’re also looking for something healthier. Something with less sugar; or better yet: no added sugar. With bonus nutrients built-in and that doesn’t spike our blood sugar and make us ‘hangry’ (also known as hypoglycemia).
I’ve got the answer for you. Introducing: Chia Jam.
If you were a child (or adult) of the 1980s you may remember, or even owned, a chia pet. Oh nostalgia. Yes, the chia seeds we know today as a superfood were once better known as a holiday novelty gift phenomenon. You can certainly sprout and grow chia seeds and eat the greens, which are also very healthy themselves, but the hype around chia today is usually about its seed form.
A note for those with digestive troubles like diverticulitis: nuts and seeds may be more challenging for you to eat raw or whole and may be better prepared in other ways. This chia jam recipe is one of those easier to digest formats.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHIA SEED:
The health benefits of chia seeds (and chia jam) are numerous and include:
high in healthy protein, omega-3 fatty acids and powerful antioxidant nutrients;
an excellent source of calcium, manganese, zinc, and phosphorus (important minerals for various body functions like building healthy bones);
an excellent source of dietary fibre.
WHAT DO THE NUTRIENTS IN CHIA SEEDS DO FOR US?
Besides building healthy bones, healthy immune systems, energy, skin, and more, the nutrients in chia seed also help us feel satiated, they stabilize blood sugar, and they reduce inflammation.
Soaking chia seeds makes them turn gelatinous and this gelly-like fibre soothes the intestinal lining – great for people who cannot eat seeds like this raw.
ABOUT THE CHIA JAM RECIPE
This fast and easy chia jam recipe does not involve any cooking, it contains no added sugar, and it is a superfood! What more can you ask for? Try different fruit or combinations of fruit. Play with this recipe. Make it your own. Serve it on toast at breakfast; in combination with almond butter is my favourite. Try it with ice cream (non-dairy coconut ice cream is very nice). Add it to smoothies or plain yogurt.
3 cups of seasonal fruit (Suggested: any type or mix of berries either fresh or thawed if previously frozen, rhubarb (must be cooked first) mixed with berries (my favourite is with strawberries)
peaches (pitted, chopped and cooked first)
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp vanilla powder (optional)
Blend half of the fruit in a high powered blender or bullet.
Add chia seeds and vanilla and blend.
Add remaining fruit and either blend if you’d like a smooth jam or simply mix in with a spoon if you’d prefer a chunkier jam.
Place in mason jars and refrigerate for about 1 hour, after which time it should have set.
Keep refrigerated. It will last about 1 week.
If you need to, you can freeze it. You can also add 1-2 tsp of organic cane sugar or coconut sugar to help persevere it a little and have it last a little longer. Since this jam is very natural, it does not keep long. It’s so easy to make, though, you can whip it up in 5 minutes and make smaller batches to be sure you consume it before it spoils.
Rebecca Llewellyn, BSc CNP CH
Rebecca is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist (CNP), a Chartered Herbalist (CH) and a total science nerd, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry.
Before moving to Nanaimo, she had been practicing at an integrative clinic and teaching the Biological Chemistry and Advanced Nutrition Research courses at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition (IHN, her alma mater) in Vancouver.
When she’s not creating wellness plans for her clients or mentoring student nutrition as the Student Clinic Supervisor at IHN, Rebecca can be found creating new herbal concoction, playing guitar, riding her bike, or hiking the beautiful trails around her home, Vancouver Island.