Strawberry Chia Jam

Happy Saturday everyone!

This morning I dragged myself out of my bed and to the markets to buy fruit and vegetables for the week. Getting out of bed has become more of a chore since the weather in Queensland has hit an all time low; if I could go everywhere in a onesie, I would.

Market mornings are incredibly rewarding because the produce is always fresh and cheap. I took $30 with me and after buying groceries and cold press coffee, came home with $10 left over – that kind of value is worth getting out of bed for. In my purchases I scored a large punnet of strawberries which I’d usually utilise on top of pancakes or with yoghurt, but I thought I’d try something a bit different: Strawberry Chia Jam.

20130622-153957.jpg

Homemade jam is easy enough to make, however, recipes often call for a truckload of sugar. Sugar assists in the taste and texture of the jam, allowing the mixture to congeal to the appropriate consistency. For a sugar-free (and still delicious) jam recipe, try replacing sugar with chia seeds. The seeds soak up the liquid and become gel-like – perfect for jam – so you can omit the sugar and pectin.

Chia seeds are high in protein, calcium, potassium, iron and the essential fatty acids omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA) and omega-6.  ALA is necessary for maintaining a healthy body and is known to lower the risk of heart disease, however isn’t produced by the body itself. Found in kiwifruit, flax, hemp and soybeans, chia contains the highest amount of ALA per serve.  Regularly referred to as a superfood (because of their high level of nutrients), chia seeds are very versatile and can be bought from your regular grocery store. They are not too expensive and can be incorporated into a large variety of sweet and savoury recipes.

Strawberry Chia Jam

300g strawberries, hulled
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
2 and a half tbsp chia seeds

In a pot, heat strawberries, maple syrup and water and until fruit becomes warm and soft (that is, you can smoosh them with your spoon). A good amount of liquid should have been released from the berries, so continue cooking and stirring for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat and whiz with a hand held blender (or in a food processor/blender) till mix is smooth. You don’t have to blend as much if you’d prefer your jam a little more chunky. Add chia seeds and stir till combined. Pour in a glass jar and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or more. Jam will have thickened to a spreadable consistency.

20130622-153937.jpg

You don’t have to add honey or maple syrup to your jam if the berries are sweet enough, or you could substitute with a sweetener.

Information from:
Holmgren, B. (2012, 02). Chia seeds. Natural Solutions, , 35-36. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/947938864?accountid=13380

Advertisements