Saturday, May 28, 2016

Easy Strawberry Chia Jam

I love the smell of sun-warmed strawberry fields. It really makes the sometimes back-breaking labour of harvesting u-pick strawberries worth it. The fields smell like jam and it reminds you why you are doing what you are doing when you get tired. You think of the reward. And that reward can come soon but it is at its very sweetest in the middle of winter when you crave a taste of summer.

Although I harvest from the u-pick, I also buy from the roadside stand when I tire of picking. I usually freeze them whole and make freezer jam, long-cooked jam, fruit leather and ice cream. Just when I can't stand the sight of another flat of strawberries, I remember the taste of summer in winter and I press on. Just one more batch.

This  year I decided that I wasn't going to go so crazy. So I tried to find some other options for no-cook strawberry jam recipes. I love this Chia Jam from the kitchn. Although they cook the fruit slightly, I prefer their raw fruit version for strawberries but I could see the cooked version working better for blueberries.

The nice thing about this jam is that all the ingredients are recognizable: chia slightly thickens, lemon helps to keep the colour vibrant and the sweetener is customizable. I used organic cane sugar because I like how it doesn't mask the strawberry flavour at all and acts as a slight preserver too. It takes a few minutes to mash it all together and it makes for a very tangible reward afterwards when you get to taste a spoonful of this saucy jam.

Easy Strawberry Chia Jam
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups
I leaned towards 4 tbsp of sugar for my early strawberries. I might use less the next time if the strawberries are sweeter. Use on waffles, pancakes, stirred into yogurt or on ice cream, cheesecake and other desserts. It should last about a week in the fridge but it definitely won't make it that far. But if it does, it could come in handy to enhance a smoothie!

2 cups strawberries, cleaned and tops removed
juice of 1 lemon
2- 4 tbsp organic cane sugar or sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, etc.)
2 tbsp chia seeds, any colour

1. In a large bowl, mash strawberries until juicy but chunks of berry remain. Add lemon and sugar and stir for a few minutes until sugar dissolves. Stir in chia.
2. Pour into clean jars and cover with lids. Refrigerate overnight for best texture.