Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Strawberry Blueberry Mango Chia Jam... Homemade and Pectin Free!
I'm hereby proclaiming 2015 my "year of the chia seed". That tiny little seed is finding its way into all sorts of my recipes from smoothies to pancakes, but one of my favorite uses is in jam.
A good homemade jam brings the farmer's market to your table, but I've always struggled with the huge amounts of sugar and the use of pectin in many homemade and commercial versions. I'm not sure why the pectin bothers me so much, heck, it's in apples, right? But for some reason, pouring that powder from a box into my beautiful freshly chopped strawberries is a no go for me.
Hence, we've switched to chia for our gelling needs, and I have beautiful jam (though not as "set" as a pectin gelled jam) with only fresh ingredients. Adding seasonal fruits (or in winter frozen varieties) we can save nature's goodness in a bottle and bring amazing nutritional benefits to a simple PBJ.
Did you know chia brings 70% more protein than soybeans, 25% more fiber than flaxseed, more calcium than milk and more potassium than a banana?
Soaked in liquid, chia seeds (filled with soluble fiber) swell up to 10 times their weight and form a gel-like outer layer which, in the digestive system, actually slows down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar and in turn helps stabilize blood sugar. In addition, the seeds high soluble fiber content also helps to control cholesterol levels. And in addition again, the gelled seeds work to "gel" our jam!
So today we bring our latest jam featuring some of the best local California strawberries of the season. Plump, juicy and sweet, these berries mixed beautifully with farmer's market blueberries and a handful of chopped mango (we actually used frozen from Trader Joes). Simple, sweet and good for you, feel free to slather this jam without any of the guilt from store bought, sugar-laden varieties. Enjoy this spring in a bottle!
Strawberry Blueberry Mango Chia Jam
Simple, sweet and filled with nutrition, this jam works on everything from the simple pbj to a topping for oatmeal or pancakes to a lovely complement to freshly baked scones. Enjoy!
3 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped (organic if possible)
1 cup fresh blueberries (organic if possible)
1/2 cup chopped mango, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbs chia seed
pinch of salt (optional)
Place strawberries, blueberries, mango and maple syrup into a medium pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium - medium/low. Stirring occasionally, allow to simmer until fruits are very soft, about 20 minutes. Remover from heat.
For very chunky jam, mash with the back of a fork. Alternatively, pulse a few times in a food processor for smoother jam. Return to the pot after blending and add the chia and pinch of salt. Stir to combine, and allow to cool.
Place jam in clean, sealable jars and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.