How cool would it be to have friends over for brunch, and when you serve the pancakes or sourdough toast, you point breezily to a jar of beautiful mixed-berry jam and say casually, “Oh, and that’s some homemade jam I just whipped up.”
Now you can, and you don’t need sterilized jars, odd ingredients or even any cooking skills. The secret weapon: Chia seeds.
Yep, those little seeds you may already use to make pudding or toss into your pre-workout drink also turn any kind of fruit into jam with minimal effort, thanks to their amazing ability to absorb nine times their weight in liquid. No more messing around with pectin or other thickeners to get your fruit to set.
Another plus: Traditionally you would also need a ton of sugar to help your jam set. But thanks to chia’s binding power, you can choose to sweeten your jam as much or as little as you like based on nothing more than how sweet your fruit is. And as an added bonus, the chia seeds themselves are also loaded with good nutrition, rich in fiber, protein, omega-3s and calcium. It’s a win-win.
Ready to grab a bowl and get going? Here’s a really simple, super-fast recipe to get you started.
- 1 cup strawberries, hulled, chopped
- ½ cup blueberries
- ½ cup raspberries
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup chia seeds, preferably white
- In a nonaluminum bowl, using a potato masher or fork, combine berries, lemon juice, honey and salt and mash, until fruit is pulpy and partly broken down, about 30 seconds. (if it’s too tart for you, you can always add a little more honey.)
- Add in chia seeds and stir to combine. Transfer to a clean jar, cover and refrigerate. The jam will thicken as it gets colder.
You can toss all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend, if you prefer that to hand mashing. However, the jam will be less chunky this way. Feel free to add other flavors to the jam, like fresh herbs (chopped thyme, basil or mint would be nice), or a splash of vanilla extract or balsamic vinegar.
This is a jam that must be refrigerated, not one that you can leave in your pantry shelf for months. It will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 weeks.