Summer berry season will be here before you know it and this easy lemon raspberry chia seed jam is a healthy and quick way to make the most of your fruit surplus. It’s refined sugar free to let berries’ natural sweetness shine and can be made using fresh or frozen berries. It doesn’t get any sweeter friends!
Summer berry season may be a few months away but that no reason to deprive yourself of it’s bounty, considering that this simple lemon raspberry chia jam can be made using frozen or fresh ones.
I have a lot of pet peeves when it comes to our food industry and most of them are related to the insane amounts of unnecessary added sugars used in even the simplest items, like jam.
Does fruit jam really need added sugar? Personally, I say no.
While I understand that the sugar added to jam also functions as a preservative, I still contend that it’s an unnecessary ingredient and that the fruit alone is plenty sweet.
However, it’s difficult to find a high quality, organic jam or preserves that isn’t loaded with added sugars or fruit juice to sweeten it up.
It’s so frustrating.
I could rant about added sugars in our food for days but I’m too excited to get to this recipe to get on my anti-sugar soapbox. Besides, I’m pretty sure you know how I feel about added sugars at this point, right?
If not, I’ll refresh you’re memory…
Added sugars = THE. WORST. EVER.
OK, OK there are arguably worse things you could consume because a little sugar here and there isn’t the end of the world. It’s when it’s added to foods that would be perfectly delicious without it that I get annoyed.
It’s also why I decided to stop buying pre-made jams and preserves a few years ago when I went totally off the hard stuff (meaning white/refined sugar) altogether.
Now, I’ll either smash fresh berries in a bowl to stir into oats or spread on toast (I swear it tastes even better than jarred jam) or I make my own using this recipe.
BRING ON THE BERRIES
It might feel a bit premature to be talking about berry season, it is nearly May,
While I know that spring has only recently sprung, I’m already dreaming of summer and I suspect that you might be, too (especially if you live in New York City where I hear it’s fa-reeeezing this week).
I love everything about summer—barbecues, picnics, sundresses and flop flops, the abundance of daylight hours, shade bathing (because my fair skin and the sun do not get along so well), and especially baskets and baskets of fresh, plump blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries galore at the farmers markets.
Fresh berries are truly the epitome of summer for me.
Like I said, I may be jumping the gun by a month or two by sharing a summer berry jam recipe, but I have good reason.
Before moving to our new place a few weeks ago, I had to find a use for the surplus of frozen fruit that I had stock piled in our old freezer. The new refrigerator has a freezer drawer instead of a top compartment and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to transfer everything to it.
In an effort to leave no berry behind, I decided to make a batch of my favorite jam—chia seed jam.
Chia seed jam is truly going to be your new favorite health hack ever.
And this jam is LEGIT going to be your new jam.
CHIA SEEDS TO THE RESCUE
OK so what’s so great about it? Well…
Chia seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids, loads of fiber to help regulate digestion and increase satiety, and they add the perfect crunchy texture.
This jam recipe is also insanely simple.
It takes less than 20 minutes and only requires a handful of ingredients—FOUR to be exact and zero weird ones that would likely require a special trip to the store (fruit pectin, I’m talking to you).
PLUS you can make it with fresh or frozen berries.
But wait, it gets better!
You don’t even have to cook it!
Capital W — Winning over here.
TO COOK OR NOT TO COOK
As I said, you don’t have to cook this jam recipe, which makes it all the more appealing in my opinion. However, I made it both ways and I prefer the cooked version because the flavors meld together better and it gets much thicker.
If you decide not to cook it, it will still be delicious and all you’ll want to do is possibly increase the amount of chia seeds. Another option is to allow the chia seeds to work their gelling magic and then puree everything in a blender to achieve a smoother consistency.
Let’s get to it!
Serves: 1 cup
- 2-3 cups fresh or frozen berries
- 3 tbs chia seeds
- 1 tbs lemon zest (use an organic lemon for this if possible)
- ⅛ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2-3 tbs local honey (optional)*
- Add berries, lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey to a medium saucepan and heat on medium high until the berries begin to break down and everything starts to bubble. Stir often with a whisk or wooden spoon and continue to cook on medium low until the berries have reduced, about 5-8 minutes. If needed, add a few tablespoons of water to the pot to keep it from burning (this is less likely to happen with the frozen berries versus fresh).
- Once thickened, remove from heat and add the chia seeds, stirring to incorporate. Give the chia seeds a few minutes to work their gelling magic and then assess the texture. If you want it to be more gelled, add more chia seeds one or two teaspoons at a time until you get the consistency you like.
- That’s it!
- Store the jam in a glass jar in your fridge for up to two weeks.
- Take fresh berries, lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey to a mixing bowl and use a whisk to break down the berries. Add 1-2 tbs filtered water and stir or add to a blender and pulse a few times to further break down the fruit.
YOUR THOUGHTS >>>
Do added sugars make you as frustrated as they do me? What’s your favorite thing about summer?
Hope you enjoy this simple and sweet recipe!