I recently went back through the archives and read a blog post where I talked about my cooking ‘fears.’ I wrote that the thought of sterilising jars and making my own jam from scratch totally freaked me out. But a few weeks later, I faced the fear and made my first ever batch of gorgeous strawberry and ginger jam. It tasted better than any store-bought jam I’d ever had and it was easy easier than I’d ever imagined the process to be. That was in 2010.
I’ve been making homemade jam for six years now with all different fruits, from berries to rhubarb to figs from Nanna’s tree and hand-picked cherries from Orange. All delicious. But I think today’s jam recipe is a bit of a game changer. It contains no sugar and is thickened with chia seeds. And best of all, it takes less than 15 minutes.
I chose to try out Blueberry Chia Jam for my first attempt because they are just coming into season now, cheap and super delicious. However I can tell you that there will be more attempts as the warmer months go on. I think any kind of berry would be marvellous but a quick Pinterest search showed that people have been experimenting with almost every fruit you can imagine.
There are only five ingredients and all of them are healthy! Blueberries are called superfoods because they’re super nutritious with high levels of vitamins and antioxidants. Chia seeds are high in protein, fibre and omega-3’s. But the main reason they are perfect in this recipe is because they absorb three times their weight in liquid and help to naturally thicken the jam.
For sweetness I used rice malt syrup, which a fructose free sugar alternative. It has a sweet taste and similar consistency to honey. I have been using it to make amazing sugar-free granola for the last few months. If you can’t find it, you can definitely use maple syrup in this recipe. I added half a vanilla bean for that beautiful flavour – don’t you just love blueberries and vanilla together? The juice and zest of half a lemon helps to brighten it up and make that blueberry flavour sing.
And that’s it. Healthy jam almost instantly. I have served the jam on rye bread toast, swirled it into porridge and yoghurt for breakfast, and it also makes a delicious and healthy breakfast layered with Coconut Chia Pudding and a little of that homemade granola I just mentioned.
I absolutely love that you have the flexibility to make just one single jar of jam, good for indecisive sorts like me who are obsessed with blueberries one week, rhubarb the next and strawberries the one after that. Or if you’ve hit the jackpot with seasonal produce at the farmers market, you can scale the recipe up to make as much as you like.
Related Post: Ginger Beer Scones with Strawberry Ginger Jam
Blueberry Chia Jam
Makes 1 jar
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (about 2 punnets)
- Grated zest & juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 2 tablespoons rice malt or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
To make the Jam, bring blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and rice malt or maple syrup to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until blueberries start to burst and release their juices.
Remove jam from heat and taste for sweetness, adjusting to your liking. Return to the heat and stir in the chia seeds. Cook for about 1 minute to soften seeds. Let jam cool slightly, then transfer to sterilised jars or containers. Cover and let cool completely. Chill until ready to use.
Coconut Chia Pudding
- 1 cup Coconut Milk
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds (I used white)
- 1-2 teaspoons rice malt syrup or male syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- To serve: Extra blueberries, homemade granola, edible flowers (optional)
To make the Chia Pudding, combine the Coconut Milk together with the chia seeds, honey and vanilla in a glass jar with a lid. Cover and shake well, set aside for 15 minutes. Give it another good shake then refrigerate 5-6 hours or overnight.
To serve, layer the blueberry jam with the coconut chia pudding in jars for easy transport or a bowl. Top with extra blueberries, homemade granola or edible flowers.