This recipe for chia jam is as fabulously simple as it is tasty. It'll take you less than five minutes to whip up, and is yummy you'll be sneaking spoonfuls straight out of the jar. But before delving further, let’s shine the nutrient spotlight on chia seeds for those scratching their heads over the name.
Seed, what now?
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, they pack a mighty nutritional punch:
Chia seeds 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 fibre/day and men 30 grams fibre/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. Side culinary note - 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 a thick jam!
They're also an excellent plant-based source of omega-3, a source of protein (around 20% in weight), as well as a plethora 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.
Chia jam ediquette
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.
Only thing to keep in mind, this is different to jam on the storage front. It’s not preserved with a high sugar content, like regular jam, meaning you have to keep it in the fridge where you’ll get a good half a week out of it - but I am sure it won’t last that long!
Basic Chia Jam
1 cup fresh or frozen berries e.g. strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries…
1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup/honey
1 heaped tablespoon of chia seeds
3 tablespoons of water
1. Add fruit, 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 this is a ‘fresh’ jam, not preserved with a high sugar content so you must eat it over the course of a week and store it isn the fridge. Triple the recipe it if you'd like a full jam jar, as pictured below!