Many of my clients like to eat jam, and well, so do I!
One of my clients asked me recently which is the healthiest jam to eat?
Well this chia jam would have to be it.
Most jams are made with 50% fruit and 50% sugar. Sugar not only brings out the flavour of the fruit and helps to preserve it (before refrigeration making jam was one of the few ways people could store fruit for later use), but is also helps the jam to set.
I have made jams before with a lot less sugar, however they are always so runny they drip off your toast while trying to eat it, which apart from being annoying is rather messy and sticky. You can opt for the 100% fruit jams, but they contain concentrated fruit juice (usually grape juice) which while it isn’t refined sugar, still contributes fruit sugar which people with diabetes or high sugar levels need to consider (see nutritional comparisons below for more information). Concentrated fruit juice can also be an issue for those people with IBS caused by fructose malabsorption.
The other week in the SMH there was a recipe for a sugar-free rhubarb and apple jam using chia seeds to help it set. This sparked an idea to make one using blueberries since I had an abundance in the freezer. A quick google search came up with a few ideas, but all of them seemed to use a lot of chia seeds and a lot of sugar still. So I played around and came up with this recipe. It was quick and easy, and I think, tastes great. The one idea I did pinch from my google search though was to add vanilla to the jam which helps to bring out the flavour of the blueberries.
In comparison, this jam has one third of the sugar of regular jam and less than half that of 100% fruit jam (for those used to regular overly sweet jam you may not find this sweet enough, so feel free to add a little more honey or maple syrup). The chia seeds apart from helping the jam to set also add extra fibre giving this jam more than three times the amount of fibre as regular jam.
This is much easier and faster to make than regular jam too, however it will not last as long. Most recipes suggest that it will keep for 1 week in the fridge, I have some that has been in my fridge for nearly 2 weeks and it is still okay. The main thing is that when you get it out to use it, don’t let it sit out for ages getting warm and it will last longer. If you would like to keep it for longer I suggest you portion it up and freeze it.
Blueberry Chia Jam
Makes approximately 3 ½ cups of jam
- 6 cups (800g) frozen blueberries
- 6 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (those with fructose malabsorption should use maple syrup)
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon organic vanilla bean paste
- Place blueberries and honey or maple syrup in a medium-sized saucepan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Lightly mash the blueberries with a potato masher or fork, leaving some for texture.
- Stir in the chia seeds until combined and cook the mixture for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring from time to time to stop the jam from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla paste.
- Allow to cool before using.
- Store in the fridge.
Per Tablespoon (19g): 102kJ or 24 calories; P 0.4g Fat 0.5g SFat 0 CHO 4g Sugar 4g Fibre 1g
Compared to regular jam: 209kJ or 50 calories CHO 12.8g Sugar 12.8g Fibre 0.3g
Compared to 100% fruit jam: 178Kj or 43 calories CHO 10.6g Sugar 10.6g Fibre 0.3g