Well, Hello lovely, luscious, plump and juicy berries! I sooo missed you! Late spring — early summer means berries, berries everywhere and hooray for that, because as acceptable as frozen berries are in smoothies and my overnight oats, they just don’t cut it in a big old fresh fruit salad. Yay for summer food!
And speaking of berries, the blackberries were ginormous AND on sale the other day, so I snagged a few pints, because they’re just perfect for this recipe I’m sharing today.
This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge is to share a kitchen staple that we now make from scratch, but used to buy in the past. For me, especially in the summer, that’s jam. I only started to make jam a few years ago, and I’m going to guess I was inspired by some food blogger who raved about how easy it is. And it’s SO true! There’s nothing like fresh, homemade jam to showcase your finds from the farmers market, garden, or even grocery store, and it’s ridiculously easy to make (especially since we’ve learned that chia seeds are no longer just for growing hairy pets around the holidays). In the olden days, I would use a low-sugar pectin like Pomona’s to make my Peach Jam with Lavender and Honey, but I’m now a chia jam convert, not only for the convenience, but also because it turns jam into somewhat of a health food, and not just something totally yum to spread on my toast or stir into my oats. OK and maybe to mix into my ice cream.
If you aren’t familiar with the tiny Chia seed, it’s a great source of fiber and healthy omega-3 fat – and it’s a quick and handy way to thicken liquids. Mix those little seeds into any liquid, including fruit juice, and they kind of dissolve a bit, and swell and absorb some of the liquid, and turn into jelly. I know, it sounds totally like a lab experiment, but trust me.
This jam is so simple, and it requires only two ingredients, unless you want to get a little bit fancy, then you can add a few more. Or unless your fruit is tart-sour, then you should maybe think about adding a little sweetener. But if your fruit is sour, it’s probably winter, so just use frozen fruit. It’ll be sweeter.
Just take your berries (or whatever fruit you have in abundance), place them in a saucepan, bring them to a boil, reduce the heat, simmer for about 10 minutes, mash them, and add some chia seeds. Really.
We’re jamming’. Don’t add any sweetener (honey, maple syrup, agave, regular old sugar) until after you taste the cooked berries. You might or might not need any more sweetness. Feel free to be creative and add several types of fruit. Or a few drops of almond or vanilla extract. Or some fresh herbs while you simmer your jam. Lavender is always lovely. Or thyme. What do you like? Keep this in little jars in the refrigerator, or give one to a friend for a sweet gift.
- 2- 6 ounce package of blackberries about 2 cups
- 1 tablespoons chia seeds
- optional: 2-3 tablespoons of any sweetener honey, maple syrup, sugar, agave or stevia to taste
- Rinse berries and remove any that are over-ripe. Place them in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. No additional water is needed, unless the berries don't give off much juice.
- Reduce heat to low, cover pot and let berries simmer for about 10 minutes or until softened.
- Remove from heat and mash berries with a fork. If a smoother jam is desired, puree them in a food processor and strain off any solids.
- Taste berries and add sweetener if necessary.
- Add chia seeds. Stir to combine well and let fruit cool for about 15 minutes.
- Spoon thickened jam into jars, and store for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Make sure you check out the other kitchen basics ideas from Recipe ReDux members!
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