Homemade fruit jam is one of those things that I always tell myself to make when the fruit is in peak season, but I have yet to take the plunge. There are a few things stopping me. First, I would often rather eat the perfectly ripe fruit plain or in a dish that celebrates its freshest form. Second, the act of canning sort of scares me. Supposedly it is nothing to be intimidated about, as you just make sure your jars are sterilized, you have enough sugar in them to prevent spoilage, and that they are completely sealed. Basically, I have a romantic idea of canning and preserving, but in all likelihood, it will remain an idea.
So what am I to do if I want homemade jam to slather on toast, swirl into yogurt, or dollop on my oatmeal but without all of the fuss? Make chia jam! Chia jam is essentially fruit + sweetener + chia seeds that are blended together and allowed to sit until the chia seeds swell and create a jelly-like texture. I had seen chia jam in a few places before attempting my own, but the Raspberry Chia Jam from Sarah of A House in the Hills had attracted my attention for its ease and simplicity.
In my version, I used frozen strawberries (thawed), honey, chia seeds, and the beans of half of a vanilla pod because strawberry-vanilla chia jam sounded fancier. And for the record, it tastes fancier, too. If you do not have a vanilla bean, you can leave the vanilla out or substitute 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Strawberry Vanilla Chia Jam
1 1/4 cup frozen strawberries, thawed
1 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 vanilla bean pod, seeds removed (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until mostly smooth. Pour in a jar and allow to set for at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate to store and use within the week. Makes about 8 ounces.
**I served this on a toasted multi-grain bread with ricotta cheese and toasted almonds, but the possibilities are endless, including on my Lemon Ricotta Pancakes!