March is a pretty exciting month for a couple of reasons. First, today marks the first day of National Nutrition Month, a month long promotion of nutrition education by Registered Dietitians everywhere! Also, spring is not quite in the air, but we are getting there! We’re going to be in the sixties next weekend here in Eastern Washington!
With the weather getting a bit nicer, I have a little more will power to leave my warm bed and spend hours in the kitchen cooking. I actually spent most of the day yesterday making dried apple rings, rolling sushi, and putting together this amazing blueberry chia seed jam!
I like this recipe because you can easily customize and adapt it using your own fruit, spices, and herbs. The only necessary key ingredient is the chia seeds. Chia seeds are a great source of fiber and protein, and only 60 calories per tablespoon! If you follow this blog, you’ll notice that I use chia seeds as a vegan egg replacer quite often. This works well because chia seeds react with liquids to form a gel-like substance. This comes in handy when using chia seeds to replace eggs, make pudding, and in this case, cook a quick jam. They are a bit pricey (this bag costs about $5 at Grocery Outlet), but this single bag has almost 20 servings- enough to last about four months of vegan baking and sporadic chia seed pudding for breakfast.
I chose blueberries for my jam because I had some leftover in the freezer from the sweet rolls I made last week, but raspberries and strawberries would also work well. A fellow dietitian recently told me about a few studies suggesting that eating blueberries every day might improve memory and brain function. I looked up a few PubMed articles, and the amount of supporting evidence on this claims seems to be enough to give blueberries a shot in your eating regimen!
After cooking the blueberry and molasses together, the kitchen smelled heavenly. Then, I decided to add some vanilla, cinnamon, lemon juice, and mint leaves because I had them in my kitchen and it seemed like those flavors would mesh well with the blueberries. The mint made the room smell even more amazing!
After adding the chia seeds and cooking everything down for a few minutes, the jam gets quite thick!Since I’m not planning on keeping this jam for more than a week or so, I just threw it in a used jar of peanut butter and stuck it in the fridge. Clearly, the mixture was still hot when I was jarring, hence the steamed-up photograph.
Adapted from Oh She Glows
Makes one cup of jam
- 3 cups of blueberries (or raspberries, strawberries, etc.)
- 2-3 tablespoons of molasses (agave, maple syrup, or honey would also be fine)
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Optional add-in’s
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 sprigs of mint, chopped
- 3 leaves of basil, chopped
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon or nutmeg
- In a medium sauce pan or pot, bring blueberries and molasses to a low boil, stirring frequently. Turn heat down to medium and let mixture simmer for five minutes before mashing blueberries slightly with a fork or masher.
- Add in chia seeds and let cook until a jam-consistency is reached (5-10 minutes). Stir in vanilla extract and any add-in ingredients.
- Store in glass jar or other air-tight container in refrigerator for up to a week,
One-minute biology lesson: did you know that berries are technically defined as fruits that are derived from a single ovary? That being said, NONE of the fruits you would use to make this jam are classified as “berries”. They are all actually called “aggregate fruits”.
But, guess what fruit counts as a berry?
Thanks for the random facts, BuzzFeed!
Speaking of berries, guess what sequel movie I’m going to see tomorrow?