This recipe for raspberry chia jam is so fabulously simple and tasty - it'll take you less than ten minutes to whip up, and it's so yummy you'll be sneaking spoonfuls straight out of the jar. But before I delve further, lets shine the nutrient spotlight on chia seeds for those who may be scratching their heads over the name.
Chia is an edible seed from the flowering plant Salvia hispanica (which is interestingly a part of the same family as mint), and is native to Mexico and parts of South America. Its uses date far back to Aztec and Mayan cultures, where it was widely cultivated and eaten, and often portrayed as an energy-booster in folklore - so much so the word chia translates to "strength" in Mayan. They may have been on to something with this, because despite their incredibly small size, the chia seed packs a mighty nutritional punch.
Chia seeds are an excellent plant-based source of omega-3, and are rich in soluble fibre (two tablespoons provide around 11 grams of fibre - to put that into perspective, women are recommended to have around 25 grams/day and men 30 grams/day). This high fibre content gives chia seeds their ability to absorb water (around 10-12 times their weight), which helps slow digestion in the body, leading to feelings of fullness. Their water-swelling capacity also means they act perfectly as an gelling agent in foods - when added to liquids they swell up, creating puddings (sort of like a tapioca pudding) or in this recipes case, like a thick jam. They're also loaded with protein, around 20%, as well as an assortment of nutrients vital to a healthy body, such as antioxidants which help fight free-radicals, and micronutrients including calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.
Enjoy this as you would with any jam - smear it over warm toast and enjoy digging into the sweet, sweet goodness. It's also really yummy added it to plain unsweetened yoghurt, on top of porridge or spooned over pancakes.
Raspberry Chia Jam
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (you can substitute for any berries you'd like - try strawberries, blackberries, blueberries etc.)
1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup/honey
1 heaped tablespoon of chia seeds
3 tablespoons of water
1. Add raspberries, sweetener and water to a pot. Stir over a low heat, until the mixture starts gently bubbling.
2. Take off the heat and gently mash mixture together with a potato masher (mash it less if you want a pulpy jam).
3. Add in chia seeds and stir well. Leave for a few minutes as the jam begins to "set" (or rather the chia seeds begin to swell up and form a thick mixture).
4. Place jam into a jam jar and store in fridge.
This recipe makes quite a small serving - I tend to make a smaller amount as the jam will last in the fridge for a little over a week. Triple the recipe it if you'd like a full jam jar, as pictured.