While I was in college, I developed a love for making jams. I’d call it a jam problem (obsession) of sorts.
Strawberries, raspberries, peaches, blueberries, blackberries…
Jams are made with whole fruit - cut up, pureed, or mashed. So there may be small pieces of fruit throughout the jam, but it is still a spreadable consistency. The more pure fruit and less sugar used, the better.
And to make it clear, this is not jelly, which is just fruit juice (not fruit) and sugar. Let’s just never go down that artificial road.
For me, there is something wonderful about pure fruit jams.
Every few months over the past five years, I will spend a weekend at home with my mom, spending an afternoon canning batches and batches of jams. We have a system set up - the mashing, boiling, canning, lid popping, labeling.
When I use raspberries hand-picked from the bushes in my parents’ backyard or blackberries picked from the bushes in my dad’s nurse’s garden…those are the jams that top all others. So much memory in one small jar. And when I lived in Illinois, these jams would get second place at the Illinois State Fair culinary competitions. (See what I mean…I have jam problem!)
But, when I’m in my apartment’s narrow kitchen, canning is a bit out of the question. And sometimes I just want to make a jar to eat that month, no canning or pectin necessary. So I’m sharing a jam recipe that will make only two half pint jars (or one larger jar) that will keep in your refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
The chia seeds are the secret ingredient in this jam. These little seeds help create the jam consistency while adding protein, antioxidants, fiber and omega fatty acids.
And did you know “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength?” See, I knew you would like this one.
Blackberry Chia Seed Jam
1 pound blackberries (fresh or unsweetened frozen blackberries)
1 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoon chia seeds
1 or 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup (you can also use sugar or honey, or no sweetener at all)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Place the blackberries in a medium-sized pot and to a low boil, stirring frequently. You can use any berry you’d like with this – sometimes I throw in raspberries and blueberries too. Then, reduce heat to low and simmer as the berries soften, about 5 minutes. With a fork or potato masher, mash the blackberries. I like to leave some whole for chunky texture.
- Stir in the maple syrup, lemon juice, and chia seeds and cook the jam on low until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Keep stirring the jam so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot.
- Remove the jam from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Let it cool until its room temperature. Pour in a large glass jar or two half pint jars and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
(Recipe inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod)
When you make homemade jam with pure fruit…
You may never buy store-bought jam again.