I think that one of lifes small pleasures is a lovely fruit jam. Growing up my absolute favorite was always strawberry jam and my mother always had some in the refrigerator for me. Traditional jams, jellies, and preserves use quite a bit of sugar. Not only does this sweeten your end result, but it also preserves its shelf life. This is something not easily achievable without sugar.
So I only make my jam in small batches. One jar at a time. It does not take long at all. No more than 30 minutes including washing my fruit, cooking it, mashing it, and adding in chia seeds.
Why chia seeds do you ask? Well one of the reasons that jams are so sweet is because without all of that sugar, it is very hard for them to gel. It is one of the reasons why pectin is added to jams. Without it you will simply just have to keep adding sugar. Since I am insulin resistant, I opt for as little sugar as possible in my diet.
Chia seeds have 11g of fiber per ounce. They have natural gelling properties and will thicken any liquid you place them in. The fiber is insoluable which aids in digestion and can help to regulate blood sugar. I love to add more nutrional value to food wherever possible.
What is pectin? Pectin is a startchy substance that occurs naturally in fruits. Usually, the more solid the fruit, the more pectin it naturally has. Also, the softer the fruit, the less it has. Strawberies have very little naturally occurring pectin. Dry pectin found in super markets is made up on the pith of citrus peels. The white stuff.
Now why did I not add any pectin? Because most commercial pectin on the market require sugar to set. I also wanted to add the extra fiber to something that would have nearly none on its own.
Now you can use any sweetener you prefer, however I used yacon syrup, which is one of my favorites to keep in the pantry. Yacon syrup is an oligosaccharide and is also very high in fiber.
Then you might ask should I can my chia seed jam. I will tell you no. After a bit of research I discovered that the canning method works on highly acidic food, like most fruit. It is supposed to kill bacteria. Chia seeds are low in acid and therefore lower the ph balance of the final product, creating an unhealthy environment for the growth of c. Botulinum, which can become a deadly poison.
And well who needs that!?! Therefore I make one jar of jam at a time and use it up in a week.
16 oz of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp of water
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp of yacon syrup (or 1/4 cup sweetener)
3 tbsp chia seeds
If you are using fresh fruit, wash and remove the stems of your strawberries. Add them along with two tablepsoons of water to a medium sized pot or sauce pan. Cook them on medium heat. Add in the lemon juice, peel, sweetener and cinnamon stick.
When the fruit has softened, mash them with a potato masher and allow the fruit to continue to cook, stirring it a little to mix it all together. Allow to simmer for a 10-15 mnutes.
When it has finished cooking, then add in the chia seeds. Stir well and allow for a few minutes for them to gel and expand.
Fill up a 16 oz jar and place it in the refrigerator.
Use as a topping for any dessert or toast. I love it on a little bit of yogurt.
It’s wonderful on my no bake cheesecake!