Spring is well on it’s way and summer is around the corner. That means fresh fruits, berries in particular, are available in abundance. I love to eat all kinds of berries just plain. This time of year, they are so juicy and sweet, absolutely delicious. But I also like to cook and bake with them. One of my favorite things to make? Jam! It preserves the vibrant colors and the sweet taste and I can enjoy them a bit longer. I recently bought 1 kg of blueberries. I know, that’s a lot of blueberries, but they were so good. I simply could not resist. But eating a whole kilo straight up was a bit too much. So I made me some blueberry jam!
I’m usually more the cheese/meat kind of girl. Never ate a lot of sweet stuff on my bread and rolls. When I was a kid, I hated jam and preserves. They were way too sweet for me. I started to like jam when they introduced low-sugar preserves many years ago. I love to still taste the natural tanginess of fruits. If you’re making jam, you need sugar. The sugar will thicken the jam. Well, that’s the traditional way to make jam. But there is a new star: chia seed.
Chia seed is one of the new superfoods. I don’t really like the term superfoods, though. It’s a name given to ingredients that are mostly overpriced and overrated. If you want to eat superfoods, eat more vegetables like broccoli and spinach, just to name a few. But credit is given where credit is due. Those little seeds are little power packs when it comes to nutrition. They are rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. I am not a nutritionist, so I can not vow for the benefits these seeds are supposed to have for our health. And I have no idea how much we would need to eat to gain something from them.
I actually like those little gems for something else: their ability to hold up to 12 times their weight in water. They soak up liquid and turn into little gelatinous pearls. I often use chia seed to prepare my breakfast for work. I mix it into yogurt, add some milk and fruit and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I simply take it with me to the office. Perfect breakfast. .
Their ability to soak up liquid makes them the perfect thickening agent for jams. Without using the copious amounts of sugar! You can either puree fruit, add the seeds and put it away. But you can also boil the fruit to release the natural sugars, add the seeds at the end and just let them cook a few minutes. Either way, you end up with a jam that tastes of fruit and nothing but the fruit. Depending on your own taste and the natural sweetness of the fruit, you can add sweetener, honey, maple syrup or a bit of sugar. And you don’t have to stop there either: add some spice or extracts for an extra dimension.
Now let’s make some jam. Enjoy!
Blueberry Chia Seed Jam
- 300 g blueberries
- 1 tbsp Xylitol*
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp chia seed
Put the berries and the Xylitol in a pan and bring slowly to a boil.
Let simmer on medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes, until most berries have 'popped'.
Add lemon juice. Taste to see if you need to add more sweetener or extra lemon juice.
Add chia seed and let simmer for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until the jam has visibly thickened. Don't worry if it seems a little bit runny as the chia seeds will absorb more liquid while the jam is cooling down.
Pour jam in a glass jar, put the lid on and let cool on the counter. Once cooled, keep it refrigerated.
*Add to taste. Can also be substituted by other sweeteners, sugar, honey, maple syrup.
Looking for something else to slather on your slice of bread in the morning? Try this super easy White Chocolate Peanut Butter!