Strawberry and chia jam
Who doesn’t love jam!? I know I certainly love it, I always have. As an absolute sugar fiend I used to slather it all over toast, so much so that it was a case of ‘having a little toast with my jam’ as opposed to the opposite way around!
Despite clients often protesting with me that jam is made of fruit, so it must be healthy, right?! The fact is that the main ingredient in most store-bought jams is actually sugar.
Sugar is something we are hearing about a lot these days. Very simply, we are eating too much of it, so it is something we need to be more mindful of and really try to cut down on.
With that in mind, I thought I would share with you a really quick and simple recipe for a much healthier home-made strawberry jam.
Why These Ingredients?
Sometimes I make this jam with strawberries, sometimes with raspberries, sometimes a mixture of the two! You could even use other berries such as blackberries or blueberries, and frozen would work just as well as fresh.
In my opinion, strawberries really are the most delicious of all of nature’s creations! As well as using them to make this jam, I love to eat them on their own as a snack or put them on top of porridge, yoghurt or cereal. I also particularly love them dipped in a little dark chocolate!
Strawberries, like all fruit, are a great source of fibre which is vital for a healthy gut and digestive system. Fibre is something we are not eating enough of so fruit is an excellent way of upping your fibre intake, especially at this time of year when it is so ripe and delicious!
Strawberries, like all berries really, are also high in antioxidants, those little things that help to prevent damage to our cells and therefore help to prevent illness.
As well as containing fibre (again for good digestion), chia seeds are also a good non-meat source of protein. Protein helps our body to grow and repair from the daily wear and tear of being a human being.
Protein is also very satisfying and helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Chia seeds are also one of the best non-fish sources of Omega-3 fats, which we need for a healthy brain and heart.
Chia seeds are excellent at absorbing moisture (which is why you need to ensure you are drinking enough water if you eat them!). This is why they are great in this jam, because they absorb the juice and help to thicken the jam and give it that ‘jammy’ texture. I also love to add them to smoothies to make them a bit thicker.
To sweeten the jam I am using honey. Now, to be clear, honey is sugar. When we talk about the need to cut down on sugar, this includes honey and other sweeteners like maple syrup. But the point is that I am using much less honey than the amount of sugar you would normally find in a regular jam.
What You’ll Need
About 225g/a punnet of strawberries (or another type of berry, or a mixture of a few)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons honey
How It’s Done
Remove the green stalks and then wash your strawberries and cut them into smaller pieces.
Add them to a saucepan over a medium heat and sort of mash and stir them every so often for about 7 or 8 minutes until the strawberries have broken down and formed a sort of thick sauce.
You can then remove the saucepan from the heat and simply add the honey and chia seeds and stir them through the strawberry sauce.
Put the jam mixture into a bowl and let it cool for about an hour.
The jam should be thicker once cooled. Then simply transfer it into an airtight container and store it in the fridge. The jam will thicken even further once in the fridge.
And it is as simple as that! A much healthier, more nourishing, home-made jam. You can store the jam in the airtight container in the fridge for about a week. I love to have this jam on bread or crackers. It is especially delicious combined with some nut butter! I also dollop it on top of porridge, granola and yoghurt.
Lisa Dunbar is a Nutrition and Health Coach based in Dundalk. Having used diet and lifestyle changes to help recover from physical and mental health challenges, Lisa is now on a mission to motivate others to live a healthier life.