I am noticing growing participation in fun, in-home DIY food projects. I hear stories on my favorite food shows about people having butter-churning parties, learning how to smoke their own meat or brew their own beer. This is a fun food trend to be seeing, as everyone is developing a growing interest in where their food comes from and how high quality it is. Glass is also becoming more popular; yes, glass jars and containers are great because they’re reusable, chemical-free, durable and actually quite design-friendly.
As all of these trends are happening, I am definitely no exception. I’ve been wanting to learn how to make jam for a long time, but I didn’t really want to follow a recipe… so I came up with this Blueberry + Orange Chia Jam. Where most jam or preserving recipes use a lot of sugar and pectin to thicken the mixture, this one doesn’t. I didn’t miss out on the sugar at all because the blueberries are already so sweet and the pectin, well there is no need for that when you have chia seeds. Keep reading – I’ll tell you a little bit more about ‘em.
So, Chia Seeds. These seeds are old… I mean, really old. They were a staple in the diets of Aztecs and Mayans, known to increase energy and stamina levels. They’re also packed full of nutritional benefits and unlike other seeds, you don’t need to grind them to get access to all of the omega fatty acids, fiber, calcium and antioxidants.
There are all sorts of fun ways to use chai seeds in vegan recipes, puddings, smoothies and jams… but what is so cool is that they have a thickening property to them that is similar to gelatin or pectin. It was SO fun to watch this batch of jam thicken after I stirred the chia seeds in. Almost like magic!
This recipe is great for the upcoming season because it uses frozen blueberries and oranges, which will be wonderfully in-season come the holiday time. It’s great spread over a warm piece of toast or on some crackers with goat cheese. The real kicker is the fresh orange zest that you cook right into the batch.
What will you need?
16 ounces of frozen blueberries (about 2 bags)
Zest of 1 orange + 2/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp kosher salt
How do you make it?
In a large cast-iron pan, bring the orange juice, maple syrup and water to a simmer. Add the frozen blueberries, orange zest and sea salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Turn off the heat and add in your chia seeds. Stir to evenly combine the mixture, allowing it to thicken and cool.
Store in sterilized glass jars. Share with friends, serve at parties or just keep it all for yourself